Imagine If Anti-EFCA Corporations Used Their Lobbying Money To Pay Their Employees Union Wages…

Today, Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Rep. George Miller (D-CA) introduced the Employee Free Choice Act in both houses of Congress. The bill would give workers a fairer path to forming unions, affording them an opportunity to bargain for higher wages and better benefits.

Predictably, this has set off a swarm of lobbying, as business leaders, in conjunction with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, try to squash the legislation. The Chamber and and rest of the anti-Employee Free Choice lobby “have said they will spend about $200 million on advertising and lobbying to block the measure.” That’s $200 million dollars to ensure that workers can’t have a fair shot at earning better wages.

But if that $200 million was instead put toward raising workers’ wages to union levels, it could do a lot of good. In fact, about 85,091 workers could earn the union wage premium — the difference between unionized workers’ wages and their non-union counterparts on average — for six months with that money. The Wonk Room examined what percentage of employees working for some of the Employee Free Choice Act’s premier corporate opponents this number represents:

CompanyNumber of WorkersPercentage of Workforce That Could Earn Union WageStarbucks176,00048%Home Depot331,00026%Burger King360,00024%

Just a few days ago, Burger King reiterated its opposition to the Employee Free Choice Act, citing the “significant implications” it could have on small franchises.

But what about the significant implications that higher wages and better health insurance could have for Burger King employees? Big business is betting that $200 million will ensure we never find out.

Methodology: $200 million / $2.26 per hour (union wage premium) / 40 hours per week / 26 weeks (six months) = 85,091