“Card Check” May Be Out–
But EFCA Remains Dangerous
According to late reports from Washington, D.C., the Senate is planning to drop the “card check” provision from the Employee Free Choice Act (“EFCA”). Although the anticipated rewrite represents a major victory for advocates of employee and management rights, the decision to jettison the card check provision may turn out to be a political calculation to force passage of equally troubling proposals that change the way workers organize. EFCA could pose more of a threat than ever before.
Early indications are that an expedited union election schedule will replace EFCA’s “card check” provision. Presently an election typically is conducted six to eight weeks after the union files a petition with the National Labor Relations Board. During the pre-election period both the employer and the union utilize the time to fully inform the employees about the pros and cons of unionization. The reported expedited schedule of up to ten days would cut this time significantly, and significantly diminish the ability of employers to notify workers of issues associated with union membership such as paying dues and strikes.
EFCA’s two key remaining provisions – requiring mandatory binding interest arbitration for first contracts and increased penalties for companies that violate labor law – for now remain unaltered by the expected compromise. EFCA changes the fundamental principles underlying private sector collective bargaining. Currently, the employer and the union are free to negotiate an agreement without government interference or intrusion into the process. Under EFCA, as proposed, if the parties cannot reach agreement on first-contract with a union within 120 days after bargaining begins, a government-appointed arbitrator will be empowered to impose employment terms upon the business and its employees for a two year period. Employees may never get a chance to vote on an agreement. Additionally, the bill imposes a civil penalty of up to $20,000 for each violation by the company that is willful or repetitive.
There is also the troubling prospect that even if the Senate passes EFCA sans “card check,” the House can still pass EFCA with “card check” thereby enabling the Senate simply to include the provision during conference. With or without the “card check” provision, EFCA raises the stakes of a successful union campaign. Any iteration of the Employee Free Choice Act would be disastrous for our economy and our record unemployment rates. The fight against the so-called Employee Free Choice Act must continue.
Contact: Jason Resnick|(949) 885-2253Agriculture for a Democratic Workplace