March 10, 2011
WASHINGTON, DC — Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) today introduced a resolution (full text of below follows), co-sponsored by Representative Donna Edwards (D-MD), supporting the rights of all workers, including federal employees, and calling for an end to attacks on their ability to organize and collectively bargain. Norton offered her resolution prior to a special order she will lead this evening in support of federal employees.
In her introduction statement, Norton said, “It has long been recognized that individual workers have little, if any, bargaining power sitting alone with an employer who has hired or could hire her. When unions organize workers, the ground becomes more level and economic conditions decide the outcome.”
The special order will be held today after House votes.
Norton’s introduction statement follows.
INTRODUCTION OF A RESOLUTION SUPPORTING THE RIGHTS OF PUBLIC AND PRIVATE EMPLOYEES TO ORGANIZE AND BARGAIN COLLECTIVELY
Ms. Norton. Mr. Speaker,
Today, I rise in advance of leading a special order this evening, to offer a resolution supporting the rights of all workers, including federal employees and other public employees, and calling for an end to attacks on their ability to organize and to collectively bargain. There are only a few salient rights recognized by every democracy, such as freedom of religion and freedom of speech, and on that list always appears the right for workers to organize in order to bargain collectively with an employer. It has long been recognized that individual workers have little, if any, bargaining power sitting alone with an employer who has hired or could hire her. When unions organize workers, the ground becomes more level and economic conditions decide the outcome.
Mr. Speaker, the American labor movement has been a major catalyst for the formation of a majority middle class in the United States by leading the way for improvements for all workers, which unions gain through collective bargaining. I ask the House to join me in recognizing the value of one of America’s union movement and those who work for a living in the public and private sectors.
H. RES. 163
Supporting the rights of all workers and calling for an end to the recent attacks on workers.
Whereas public and private sector union members are our friends, neighbors, taxpayers, and constituents;
Whereas the right of our citizens to unionize has improved working conditions, wages, and benefits for all workers;
Whereas labor unions have led in improving working conditions for all workers, including laws pertaining to the 40-hour work week, child labor, health and safety conditions, overtime pay, and health insurance and pension coverage;
Whereas the right of workers to organize and form unions has facilitated the growth and success of the middle class in the United States;
Whereas efforts to erode workers’ protections and rights have commenced in State capitals throughout the United States and in Congress at a time when elected officials should be working to create jobs;
Whereas cooperation between workers and employers is the foundation for a strong economic future;
Whereas the right of public and private sector employees to organize and collectively bargain bolsters a strong democracy; and
Whereas Federal workers, who cover the entire range of workers in the American workforce, remain dedicated to providing their knowledge and expertise to the United States Government, from protecting our borders and water supply to caring for our Nation’s veterans: Now, therefore, be it
- All private and public sector workers, regardless of economic sector, job title, or responsibility, must have a basic right to organize and bargain collectively for a fair and just outcome;
- The House of Representatives supports the rights of workers, including their right to form a union and to bargain collectively in good faith with an employer; and
- Americans should work towards cessation of the constant attacks on workers and should recognize that a strong middle class is the only way to ensure the United States remains a strong economic engine.