Companies across the nation are weathering the economic storm by working closer and harder than ever with their strongest asset - their employees. In observance of Labor Day, the American Rights at Work Education Fund publicizes successful union and management partnerships in its fifth annual "Labor Day List: Partnerships that Work." West Fargo-based Ivory Leathers, Inc., is one of the companies recognized this year for its dedication to providing sustainable wages and family-friendly benefits, respecting workers' rights and decisions to form unions, and speaking out on the need for others to follow suit. Ivory Leathers, like all of the companies featured in the report, supports the Employee Free Choice Act, legislation that protects workers and enables long-term growth for American businesses.
Labor Day List employers like Ivory Leathers show that productive labor relations benefit workers, their families, and the company's bottom line," said Kimberly Freeman, Acting Executive Director of the American Rights at Work Education Fund. She adds, "Without a doubt, economic success does not have to come at the expense of workers' rights. That's why we chose to showcase companies that have demonstrated their unyielding support for the Employee Free Choice Act, which is fundamental to rebuilding our economy and empowering workers to achieve the American Dream."
Started in 1992, Ivory Leathers creates American-made apparel for customers across the country, and serves a niche market with custom-made leather goods. Honored by North Dakota in 1994 as "Businesswoman of the Year," owner Ruth Schepp is helping resurrect America's garment manufacturing tradition.
Schepp agreed to allow her employees to join the International Association of Machinists through the majority sign-up process because she believes they deserve decent pay and a pension. Knowing the positive role unions have played in her business by improving morale and communications, Schepp fully endorses the Employee Free Choice Act. "I want my employees to be able to choose to join a union and they already did. But I also want to see other workers have that choice without fear of repercussions," says Schepp.
Ivory Leathers represents a growing community of responsible businesses that play by the rules, and want policies that encourage others to do so as well, so they're not competing on an unlevel field. According to Freeman, "Measures like the Employee Free Choice Act will give more workers a choice to join unions, giving them the financial means to support the small businesses that help drive the engine of our economy."
The 2009 "Labor Day List: Partnerships that Work" is a project of the American Rights at Work Education Fund's Socially Responsible Business Program. For a complete copy of the report, visit www.americanrightsatwork.org.