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Baseball Stars Knock It Out of the Park for Employee Free Choice

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Image: Seth MichalsJust in time for the World Series, 12 members of the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) have added their names to the broad coalition in support of the Employee Free Choice Act.

The players have signed a statement and are appearing in print ads in Washington, D.C., papers today. World Series contenders Shane Victorino and Jimmy Rollins of the Philadelphia Phillies and Mark Teixeira of the New York Yankees are taking part. They’re joined by Heath Bell, Dave Bush, LaTroy Hawkins, Torii Hunter, John Lannan, Andrew Miller, J.J. Putz, Justin Verlander and Adam Wainwright.

In a joint statement, these players say:

All Americans should have the same opportunity we’ve had—to be able to join a union without being fired and to negotiate with their employers without being penalized. Today, our country is facing some tough times. Health care costs are skyrocketing. Families are losing homes. Savings and retirement income are disappearing overnight.

Now more than ever, we need a strong union movement to protect our jobs, our pensions, and our future. The Employee Free Choice Act simply guarantees a level playing field for all workers. It makes sure everyone plays by the same rules. That’s as important in the workplace as it is in baseball.

The serious point here is that the choice to have a union on the job and bargain for a better life matters to workers no matter the sector—whether it’s a bus driver, a journalist, a casino dealer or a Major League Baseball player. The ability to bargain along with your co-workers for fair wages, good benefits and safe working conditions is a fundamental freedom that means a stronger economy for everyone.

This post originally appeared in AFL-CIO blog on October 29, 2009. Reprinted with permission from the author.

About the Author: Seth Michaels is the online campaign coordinator for the AFL-CIO, focusing on the Employee Free Choice campaign. Prior to arriving at the AFL-CIO, he’s worked on online mobilization for, Blue State Digital and the National Jewish Democratic Council. He also spent two years touring the country as a member of the Late Night Players, a sketch comedy troupe.

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