Monday, March 7, 2011

Latino groups unite to oppose union attacks

Nineteen leading national Latino organizations unite to oppose growing attacks against worker's rights.

WASHINGTON, DCAs working families struggle to stay afloat in this economic downturn, a wave of state-led attacks are threatening workers and the basic structure that protects their rights on the job. Attempts to destroy the right of workers to bargain collectively raise grave concerns about job quality and economic security for working families and vulnerable segments of our populations including Latinos and low-income families. Poor quality jobs, limited access to health care, pensions combined with high rates of wage violations, injuries and fatalities in the workplace are grave issues that disproportionately affect the Latino community.  In the absence of unions, attacks on workers' rights and declining job quality will go unabated for all workers; exacerbating these risks among vulnerable populations.

Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Tennessee, Iowa and Florida are among a growing number of states with legislatures proposing bills to destroy workers' right to bargain collectively in the workplace.  In light of these attacks on workers and labor unions, nineteen leading national Latino organizations united to call on lawmakers to oppose legislation that limits the power of workers to negotiate for quality jobs, good wages, benefits, safe working conditions and job security.

Across the country, tens of thousands of workers and their supporters are gathering to oppose legislative measures targeting the rights and pockets of public sector workers as the means to address budget shortfalls. 

Hundreds of thousands of state, county and local employees are battling proposals in Wisconsin, Indiana, Iowa, Tennessee, Michigan and Florida that seek to: revoke "prevailing wage" laws; restrict or destroy collective bargaining rights; terminate union negotiated contracts; remove required binding arbitration; and prevent unions from collecting dues from their members.

In the history of our nation, labor unions have served as workers' watchdogs and the decline in union presence in our workplaces is a major issue affecting the job quality of Latinos and all workers across industry sectors. By bargaining collectively through their union, workers are able to negotiate higher wages.  The union wage benefit is greatest for workers of color and women. Unionized Latinos earn approximately 51 percent more than their nonunion counterparts while union women earn almost 34 percent more than nonunion women.  Unions are making a critical contribution to the protection and economic security of workers nationwide and play a key role in leveling the playing field between workers and employers. 

Nineteen prominent national Latino organization oppose any attacks on working people and the unions that defend their rights in the workplace and contribute to their economic advancement.  The growing list of organizations opposing attacks to collective bargaining includes:

Cuban American National Council (CNC)
Hermandad Mexicana Latino Americana
Hispanic Federation
Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA)
League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC)
Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF)
Mexican American Political Association (MAPA)
National Alliance of Latin American and Caribbean Communities (NALACC)
National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators (NHCSL)
National Hispanic Environmental Council (NHEC)
National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts (NHFA)
National Hispanic Medical Association (NHMA)
National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC)
National Institute for Latino Policy (NILP)
National Puerto Rican Coalition, Inc. (NPRC)
National Latino Coalition on Climate Change (NLCCC)
Ser Jobs for Progress National, Inc.
Southwest Voter Registration Education Project (SVREP)
William C. Velasquez Institute (WCVI)

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