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NC Voices for Free Choice: Tony McKinnon, APWU

Jeremy Sprinkle
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(Picture) Employee Free Choice Act"Businesses Hoping Ignorance Overcomes Common Sense"

In an interview with Tony McKinnon, President of the Greater Sandhills CLC, he spoke candidly about the Employee Free Choice Act and what it would mean for working families.

“Businesses use scare tactics to make people believe that the Employee Free Choice Act takes away a worker’s right to a secret ballot,” explains Tony. “Businesses know that the bill doesn’t do that, but they use the ballot idea as a boogeyman to convince the community that unions are bad. They are hoping that the ignorance of many people will overcome the common sense notion that Employee Free Choice is good for North Carolina.”

Tony also refuted the notion that business owners care more about the progress of a company than the workers:

“Employees are vested in a company because they feed their families with those jobs. As such, when a company is doing well there should be a system that allows workers - not just shareholders - to share in the fruits of their labor.”

Workers are no longer being rewarded for increases in labor productivity. Instead, CEOs are reaping the benefits of their employees' labor. According to a recent report from the Center for American Progress Action Fund (CAPAF):

From 1980 to 2008, nationwide worker productivity grew by 75 percent, while workers’ inflation-adjusted average wages increased by only 22.6 percent - meaning that workers were compensated for only a small share of their productivity gains. Higher union wages reward workers for a larger portion of their productivity gains.

CEO pay has skyrocketed from 27 times more than the average American worker’s wages in 1973 to 344 times higher today. Increased unionization will mean that workers rather than CEOs are rewarded for increases in labor productivity. By joining together in unions, workers can help counterbalance the power of CEOs.

The Greater Sandhills CLC is getting involved in the fight to pass the Employee Free Choice Act by writing letters and making phone calls to their Representatives and Senator Hagan, as well as setting up meetings with legislators. They work with community and religious leaders and school boards to first dispel the myths about Employee Free Choice and to educate their members and the public on what is really at stake.

“Employee Free Choice is long overdue in North Carolina,” says Tony McKinnon. “Unions created the middle class, and putting away unions is one of the reasons that we are in the mess we are in now. We forget who is the most important part of this country - the people. We need workers to support the Employee Free Choice Act to be part of making this country great again.”