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Employee Free Choice Act – Will The Senate Vote To Approve EFCA?

The Senate is yet to vote on the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA). There is talk of compromise; but will any compromise improve the legislation, or leave EFCA the same unacceptable problem for business?

Earlier this year, the U.S. House of Representatives approved the Employee Free Choice Act, (EFCA).  That legislation would amend the National Labor Relations Act to make it easier for unions to organize or unionize employees.  In recognition of the financial support he received from the labor movement during his campaign, President Obama pledged to support enactment of the EFCA.

The EFCA would make three major changes to current Federal labor law.

1.  Employers would be required to recognize a union as the collective bargaining representative of employees if a majority of employees sign union-authorization cards – there would be no requirement for a secret ballot election.

2.  Once a union has become the collective bargaining representative and contract negotiations begin, if there is no agreement after 90 days, the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, a Federal agency, gets involved. If there is no agreement after 30 days, then the terms of the collective bargaining agreement will be dictated by an arbitrator, another Federal employee.

3.  Employers would be subject to triple back pay awards if the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), now controlled by liberal democrats, finds that employees were unlawfully discharged or discriminated against while involved in union activities during a union organizing campaign or in the period leading up to a first collective bargaining agreement. In addition, an employer could be fined as much as $20,000 for each violation of the law if an employer is found to have willfully or repeatedly violated employees’ rights during an organizing campaign or during collective bargaining for an initial agreement. ifb senator wss 8 kg

Once employers, especially small business, realized the drastic impact of this legislation, opposition to the legislation steadily grew.  This opposition explains why the EFCA has not been brought up for a vote in the United States Senate.  Now that President Obama is focusing on healthcare as the next piece of his socialist agenda, the EFCA is not his current priority.  However, once attention turns away from healthcare, the EFCA will reappear as an important issue; organized labor, with the support of President Obama, is not about to give up on what each believes to be an important priority.

At the present time, there are not enough votes in the Senate to pass the EFCA in its present form, so there are talks of compromise.  Some of the compromise proposals do not make any meaningful changes to the EFCA, while others are mere band-aid solutions which will not cure a fundamentally flawed piece of legislation.

As mentioned above, one of the most objectionable items contained in the EFCA involves substituting a secret ballot election conducted by the NLRB with the right of a union to force an employer to recognize the union simply on the basis of the fact that a majority of employees have signed union authorization cards.  In essence, organized labor wants to replace a process by which employees can vote in private as to whether they want union representation, with a process whereby a union organizer can make misrepresentations, threats, or engage in other types of unscrupulous tactics to convince employees to sign cards.  To salvage this unacceptable part of the EFCA, some have proposed that the employee should send the signed cards to the NLRB, which would then determine if a majority of employees have signed union cards, thereby requiring the employer to recognize the union as collective bargaining representative.

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