Local 2008 member Joe Ann Fowler was on Capitol Hill to share her story about trying to form a union. Fowler was a featured speaker at a press event sponsored by American Rights at Work to unveil a new grassroots campaign, “Faces of the Employee Free Choice Act,” and made her case for Employee Free Choice alongside several members of Congress as well as Hollywood actors Martin Sheen, Bradley Whitford and Richard Schiff of the popular television show The West Wing.
Fowler also urged Congressman Mike Ross (D-AR) to make passing Employee Free Choice Act a priority in the House. This is the second time in two weeks Fowler has met with her elected officials, including last week when she and UFCW International President Joe Hansen met with Senator Mark Pryor (D-AR) to share her story.
She spoke about the hurdles workers face when they try to unionize under current labor laws. “Under the Employee Free Choice Act, it will be the workers’ free choice to organize,” said Fowler. “You won’t have to worry about the company threatening you.”
A Certified Nursing Assistant at Lake Village Health Care in Wilmot, Ark., Fowler, along with her co-workers, became concerned about changes made by new administrators that limited their voice in patient care and made working conditions unfair. According to Fowler, when they tried to organize, management threatened workers with layoffs and tried to bribe workers with raises if they would vote against the union. Fowler and her co-workers finally did get a union on the job.
UFCW members like Fowler and other workers across the country are writing letters, blogging, sending emails, calling their elected officials, and signing cards to urge passage of the Employee Free Choice Act.