Our economy was out of whack long before the pain became severe. For decades, working families have had to take second jobs, credit cards and toxic loans just to keep the rising health care costs, gas and grocery bills at bay.

Leading economists point to one disturbing trend in particular: While workers became much more productive over the last 25 years, wages stayed flat.

So where did all that money go? You guessed it. The wealth that we worked so hard to create was wasted on the wealthy few.

We’ve been held back by a corporate culture that prevents workers from bargaining collectively for better wages and benefits. Every year, tens of thousands of workers are harassed, intimidated and fired for trying to organize unions.

A new Gallup poll shows that a solid majority of Americans support legislation that would make it easier for workers to form unions and negotiate for better health care, wages and job security. Millions of Americans want to form and join unions, but they shouldn’t have to risk their livelihoods in the process.

That’s why Congress recently introduced the Employee Free Choice Act — legislation that will let workers decide how they want to form a union. It will put an end to the current company-controlled process and increase penalties for employers who break the law.

President Obama supports this common sense legislation, because he knows that we can’t rebuild a strong middle class without a strong labor movement.

Sabira Gordon, Auburn

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