Yesterday, my subcommittee held a hearing into whether employees are able to exercise their right to decide whether or not they want to organize a union in their workplace.  Unfortunately, as we heard, a small number of coercive employers have obstructed any effort to allow their workers to organize unions. The workers who supported unsuccessful union campaign were suspended, demoted, or even fired by their employer.  Research has shown that during organizing campaigns, a quarter of employers illegally fire at least one worker for union activity.

I am very concerned that these activities have eroded the basic underpinnings of middle class life: decent wages and benefits. For the past six years, middle-class workers in my district and across the country have seen their wages and benefits shrink even as corporate profits and executive compensation have soared. The reality is that workers in unions earn 30 percent more in wages than non-union workers and 80 percent of union workers have health insurance while only 49 percent of non-union workers do.

Let's be clear that most employers are not bad actors; however, I do believe the current structure perpetuates the ability of a few employers to coerce employees without consequence. That is why I believe restoring workers' free choice through the Employee Free Choice Act is the only way to ensure that they have the right to bargain for fair wages and benefits.  Restoring the right for workers to negotiate for fair compensation is critical if we are to have America's middle class grow over the next 50 years as it did over the past fifty.