Monday, May 11, 2009

Leaders in Investment Community Speak Out for Employee Free Choice

A coalition of investors, representing nearly $400 billion in assets, has stepped forward to say the Employee Free Choice Act is the right move right now to protect workers and strengthen the economy.

In a letter to Congress, 26 leaders from the investment community strongly endorse the Employee Free Choice Act, saying that it’s critical not just for the cause of human rights, but for business, too. The support of these business leaders is a valuable corrective to the anti-union spin and disinformation promoted by corporate lobby groups.

Adam Kanzer, managing director and general counsel at Domini Social Investments LLC, says workers’ freedom to form unions and bargain is critical to a strong economy.

The Employee Free Choice Act is an investment in our shared economic future. The act will help to stabilize our economy, both in the United States and abroad, by establishing a more balanced relationship between labor and management. Today, American workers are producing more and receiving less. This is an unsustainable trend that creates material risks for employees, investors and the global economy. By more effectively protecting workers’ fundamental human rights, the Act would help to reverse these damaging trends.

The letter from investors details the flaws in our current system for forming unions, starting from the simple proposition that it should be workers, not their bosses, who make the decision about whether, and how, to form a union. The investors say that workplaces where workers are free to join unions are safer, fairer to workers, have lower turnover rates and deliver a better return on investment. In addition, when workers can bargain for a fair share of the value they create, they can get the economic security they need to have stronger purchasing power—an absolute must to turn around the economy.

AFL-CIO President John Sweeney says that the letter points out how many in the business community want to work with, not against, their employees for a stronger, more sustainable economy:

These investors know from experience that businesses that honor strong labor standards are much more likely to benefit from higher productivity, less turnover and a better-trained workforce. They have recognized, along with many in the business community, that working people need to have the tools to increase their purchasing power and bargain for financial stability in order to get this economy growing again.

You can read the full letter here. The voices of these investors are yet another addition to the broad coalition that demands labor law reform and a free and fair chance for workers to bargain for a better life.

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