H.R. 800, the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA)
5:36 PM October 27, 2008
This January, a newly elected President and Congress will arrive in our nation's capital. Within the first 100 days, expect a flurry of legislation and debate. One bill in particular is H.R. 800, the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), commonly referred to as card check. EFCA will change the way employees may seek to unionize. This act all but removes secret ballot elections in union organizing campaigns, in favor of a public, card check process.
Under EFCA, employees would no longer vote in private to join a union, but rather their vote would be made public to the employer, union organizers and co-workers. Union sympathizers believe that EFCA would remove barriers to pro-union workers by enabling them to organize unions when a majority (50% plus 1) signs union authorization cards. Opponents of EFCA believe the card check process would remove the employee's right to a private ballot when deciding about his or her future and expose employees to intimidation, harassment and coercion.
These cards can be signed in the workplace, but also at the employees' homes, or even online. Once a majority has signed, the union is certified - no election is required. This replaces the current structure where secret ballot elections are supervised by the National Labor Relations Board.
When all a union needs is 50 percent of the workforce, all businesses from large corporations to small mom & pops could potentially be impacted. Additionally, card check would require the employer and the union to settle a contract within 90 days. After that, the union could force the newly unionized company into government-supervised mediation. If the union and management have not reached an agreement within another 30 days, a government-appointed arbitrator would set the final binding contract terms.
This is an issue that could impact your business. We recently surveyed WIPP members who resoundingly were opposed to this bill. I would love to hear what you think!