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The Rebuilding the Middle Class Act (a.k.a. Employee Free Choice Act)

Amy Traub: The Senate votes tomorrow on a bill that can determine the fate of America's middle class (and anyone trying to work his or her way into the middle class).
 
 
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The Senate is set to vote tomorrow on the Employee Free Choice Act, which could also be called the Rebuilding the American Middle Class Act. The bill would make it easier for employees to decide on representation by a labor union.

As I've shown in the past unions not only helped to create the American middle class in the last century, they continue to propel millions of Americans into the middle class today, empowering members to demand jobs that are capable of sustaining a middle-class standard of living, with dignified wages, leave policies, health care, and retirement plans. The benefits of union membership are most pronounced for people of color and for women. In areas where unions represent a high proportion of workers a particular industry, they can even help to raise industry standards across-the-board: improving wages and job quality even for workers who don't belong. Not surprisingly, as union membership has declined over the past decades, the middle-class squeeze has intensified.

Giving more Americans the choice to join a union would be a significant step toward rebuilding the American middle class and alleviating the squeeze. That makes the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) one of the most important bills Congress has considered this year.

Amy Traub serves as the Director of Research for the Drum Major Institute for Public Policy . She also blogs at DMIBlog.com