Earlier this week, the National Labor Relations Act celebrated its 75th anniversary.  Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis marked the occasion by calling for an expansion of collective bargaining in the Huffington Post:

Collective bargaining helped create our middle class. Working people were able to share in the gains of their productivity and labor and management together forged creative solutions to create the powerful engine of the American economy we all are proud of.

In order to rebuild the middle class today, we need to level the playing field for all working people and update our labor laws to fit the 21st century workplace. That’s why the President and I support the Employee Free Choice Act – which would update the NLRA so workers can form unions if they choose to without fear or pressure. In addition, millions of workers are not covered by the NLRA including public sector workers, farm workers, domestic workers, and more – so other laws, like the Public Safety Cooperation Act would ensure that firefighters and other public servants have a voice on the job, too.

Some people say that given the state of the economy, we can’t afford unions right now. They’ve got it backwards.