Originally created 06/02/04

Norwood legislation is one-sided



U.S. Rep. Charlie Norwood, R-Ga., is off base with his assumption of cards of authorization for organizing employers (The Augusta Chronicle, May 13).

Under current law an employer may legally recognize a union if a majority of employees demonstrate a wish to be represented by the union. This is usually done by signing an authorization card designating the union as the collective bargaining representative. However, the decision whether to recognize the union on the basis of this kind of showing of majority support is left up to the employer.

Only if employees have voted for union representation in a National Labor Relations Board election is an employer legally required to recognize the union, and I might add it is done by secret ballot. Thus, an employer can refuse to recognize a union and insist on an NLRB election even if 100 percent of the employees have signed authorization cards.

It is illegal for anyone to coerce employees to sign a union authorization card. But Rep. Norwood does not recognize the threats conducted by employers such as firings, threats of closing, pay reductions for union supporters, and just simple down-to-earth harassment of pro-union workers.

Does Rep. Norwood have a concern about these lawbreakers or is his purpose not only to make it more difficult, but to destroy organized labor? Is this new law he's promoting protecting businesses over the rights of workers? Is this a payoff to his Big Business constituents? Where is his legislation to protect American workers, union or nonunion?

Protecting workers from the greed of big business is essential. It doesn't matter if you're union or not - you deserve a fair day's wage for your work. You deserve the right to work in a safe environment. You deserve insurance for yourself and your family. You deserve retirement safe from corporate greed.

Johnny Hutcheson, Augusta

(Editor's note: The writer is an organizer for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.)