The Employee Free Choice Act (Pocono Mountain Chamber of Commerce)December 2008 – Articles Pocono Mountain Chamber of Commerce Newsletter
While it did not receive the same media attention as the ongoing financial crisis, the misleadingly named Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) will be a hot-button issue following the recent presidential election, and threatens to have a significant impact on this country’s economic well-being. As proposed, EFCA will cause the most drastic overhaul of private sector labor relations since the passage of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) in 1935. Ironically, if passed into law, EFCA will severely restrict employees’ free choice when it comes to deciding whether they wish to be represented by a union.
EFCA passed by a wide margin in the House of Representatives last year but was derailed in the Senate. President Bush stated that he would veto the bill. Given that the Democrats have solidified their control of the Senate and President-elect Barack Obama supports the bill, it is a virtual certainty that EFCA will be reintroduced in 2009.
EFCA will significantly alter the NLRA in at least three ways. First, EFCA allows for “card-check” certification of unions,meaning that once a union gets a majority of employees to sign authorization cards, it will become their collective bargaining representative. Under current labor law, an employer has the option of voluntarily recognizing a union based on receiving a majority of signed authorization cards, but also has the right to refuse to recognize a union on that basis and instead, insist on a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) secret-ballot election to determine if employees wish to be union represented.
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