American Rights at Work launches e-advocacy campaign to educate the public and generate support for labor law reform
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 31, 2005
202-822-2127, ext. 111
WASHINGTON, DC—As of today, over 15,000 workers in America have been
fired or discriminated against for demonstrating support for a union.
In an effort to raise awareness about this crisis in observance of
Labor Day, American Rights at Work released a short Flash video today,
titled "15,000 Workers," as the centerpiece of an e-advocacy campaign
designed to build support for labor law reform. To view the video, click here.
"This isn't happening to strangers," says David Bonior, the former
Michigan congressman who now chairs the board of the nonprofit workers'
rights advocacy group. "These are our nurses, school bus drivers, and
favorite grocery store clerks. This campaign will put a face on this
Tracking the federal government's own data, American Rights at Work
found that an average of over 23,000 men and women are fired or
penalized annually for exercising their legal rights to form or join a
union. Last December the group launched a ’workers' rights violations
ticker’ on its website to count in real time the number of workers
whose democratic rights are violated each year; that ticker has just
recently passed the 15,000 mark.
"Every 23 minutes a worker suffers retaliation just because they
supported a union at work," says Mary Beth Maxwell, Executive Director
of American Rights at Work. "America's workers deserve better and it's
time for Congress to enact meaningful reform to protect their rights."
American Rights at Work supports the Employee Free Choice Act (H.R.
1696 and S. 842) as a critical first step in stemming the tide of
workers' rights violations. The bill, introduced in Congress this year
by Senators Edward Kennedy (D-MA) and Arlen Specter (R-PA), and
(Representatives Peter King (R-NY) and George Miller (D-CA),
strengthens protections for workers during union representation drives,
toughens penalties for employers who violate workers' rights, and
offers mediation so that employers and unions reach contracts within a
reasonable period of time.
"15,000 Workers" features an animated photo montage of dozens of
workers' faces, after which several brief screens of text appear
explaining problems workers face when they support a union at work.
The end of the video prompts viewers to send a message to their
representatives in support of the Employee Free Choice Act.
"Just in time for Labor Day, we're offering people a meaningful way to
take action and protect democracy in the American workplace," says