5 Things to Know About the Employee Free Choice Act

The most significant piece of labor-related legislation in 70 years is being revived.

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The value of unions: The debate over expanding the scope of unions is really significant only if unions themselves provide value to workers and yield additional power in negotiating with employers to improve the conditions for workers. Wages are king, and the "union-wage premium," or the amount that union workers make above what nonunion workers make, is sizable, according to some research. The Center for American Progress calculates that over the four-year period from 2004 to 2007, "unionized workers' wages were on average 11.3 percent higher than nonunion workers with similar characteristics." Union workers are also, on average, covered with better benefit packages than comparable nonunion workers. Some economists favor the legislation as the best shot at giving workers leverage at a time when companies have been slashing pay and benefits.