Benjamin L. Pratt
Where does it stand? EFCA
Shortly after President Obama was elected, we informed you of the pending legislation entitled the “Employee Free Choice Act”, also known as Card Check. Where does this Act stand today?
Since the election, we have heard from legislators as to their opposition and/or approval to the proposed legislation. In particular, Arlen Specter, a Pennsylvania Senator, indicated he was opposed to the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA). Now that he has switched political parties to Democrat, his position is not as solid as the parties had once thought in the past.
The EFCA is legislation that will allow unions to be recognized based on a “card check” system instead of the current election process. The EFCA would also require binding arbitration on contract negotiations within one hundred-twenty (120) days of union recognition instead of the current practice of allowing both parties to negotiate until ratification. Numerous editorials as well as letters to the editor have been submitted by both sides outlining the pros and cons of this legislation.
Based on differing opinions, there have been attempts by a couple of organizations to find a compromise to the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA). Most if not all opponents to the EFCA are not interested in looking at compromises.
Those compromises would not remove the EFCA but would actually put into place a different process than what is currently under law. Some of these compromises include: mail-in ballots, union access to employees during election campaigns, a “quicky election” to expedite the organizing, and extending the timelines for negotiations of a new collective bargaining agreement. All of these compromises do not hinder the objective of the EFCA, which is to remove the current election system that is in place. As a matter of fact, it diminishes the employer’s rights during the election process. At this time no compromise on the EFCA is acceptable to most business organizations. They maintain the position of not changing the existing legislation.
It appears that this legislation will be reintroduced prior to the summer recess of Congress and there is a possibility some form of the EFCA will be passed. We encourage our clients to contact their local Senators and Congressman to indicate their position on the EFCA. Look to CGA for updates should this act be passed.