March 6, 2009
Jeff Israel is a Steelworker from Local 507 who works at the Evergreen Packaging paper mill. Last weekend we sat down to discuss what the passage of the Employee Free Choice Act would mean for union families and communities.
“The Employee Free Choice Act will be the most significant piece of labor legislation in over 50 years,” says Jeff. “It will help level the playing field for workers instead of leaving the ball squarely in the employer’s court. I believe this bill is essential to restoring America’s middle class.”
During his interview, Jeff explained that unions provide more than just a bigger paycheck to workers. They also act as an equalizer of wages for women, African Americans, Latinos, and other minorities. “In a non union job women are paid 78 cents for every dollar a man is paid,” explained Jeff. “At a union work site, their wages are equal.”
Jeff also exposed the lies behind the controversial “secret ballot” issue that opponents of Free Choice use to appeal to the democratic ideals of the American public. “Opponents of this legislation don’t care about a secret ballot. But they can’t come out and say that they want to protect the rights of big bosses, so they picked something that sticks in the mind of the American public. Their real concern is not employee rights, but keeping the power in the hands of employers.”
“For every great piece of social legislation, whether a woman’s right to vote or civil rights, somebody always says ‘Now is not the time.’ But I say that now is precisely the time to stand up for workers,” says Jeff. “We need to push hard on our end to pass the Employee Free Choice Act, and the legislators we helped elect need to step up to the plate with us.”