November 20, 2009
The North Carolina Justice Center has released a special federal policy update on the Employee Free Choice Act (opens PDF). The report, by Stephen Jackson of the NC Budget and Tax Center, concludes the legislation is reform North Carolina workers need:
“Despite the Piedmont crescent being home to high numbers of decent jobs in high-paying industries and occupations, North Carolina’s median income is the 39th highest in the nation. In 2008, around one in seven North Carolinians and one in five of the state’s children lived in poverty. Around one in six North Carolinians had no health insurance.
“North Carolina’s low unionization rate is partly to blame. North Carolina has the lowest unionization rate in the nation at just 3.5%. Unionization boosts worker income, especially among the lowest paid, and makes it more likely workers will have employer-provided health insurance. Passage of the Employee Free Choice Act will enable workers to collectively bargain because it short circuits the illegal anti-union employer activity endemic to the secret-ballot union recognition process.”
The report focuses on the barriers, both legal and illegal, to unionization. The Employee Free Choice Act would break down these barriers: inequality of opportunity to form a union, illegal employer intimidation, and delaying a first contract.
The report also provides data about the union wage premium, the percentage of union vs. non-union employees receiving various benefits, and a breakdown of how much union vs. non-union employees pay for health care coverage at work.