House bill would make unionizing easier

US Senate chamber

MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: The Democratic takeover of Congress has set off a titanic struggle between unions and employers. They're battling over a bill due on the House floor this week, which would make it easier for unions to organize workers. Nancy Marshall Genzer has the story.


NANCY MARSHALL GENZER: The battle is over the Employee Free Choice Act. It says workers can unionize if a majority signed cards authorizing the unions.

Stewart Acuff

of the AFL-CIO says right now, employers can require a secret election, which takes months.

STEWART ACUFF: This act would streamline the process and would give workers greater freedom to freely associate and form unions and bargain collectively.

That could take a lot less time — just a few weeks. Acuff says companies like to drag out the process while retaliating against union supporters. The bill would penalize that.

But Jason Straczewski

of the National Association of Manufacturers says it wouldn't keep unions from bullying workers who don't want to sign the cards.

JASON STRACZEWSKI: The union organizers go around and they collect the signatures. They go into employees' homes, and they say "Hey, we signed this card, you sign it too."

The House is expected to pass the bill, but it could be blocked in the Senate.

In Washington, I'm Nancy Marshall Genzer for Marketplace.

About the author

Nancy Marshall-Genzer is a senior reporter for Marketplace based in Washington, D.C. covering daily news.

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