What is it?
Two virtually identical bills that were introduced in the United States House of Representatives and United States Senate on March 10, 2009.
Although the bill passed the House of Representatives on March 1, 2007, it later was stalled in the U.S. Senate.
What are its three primary provisions?
FIRST, NO-VOTE UNIONIZATION:
The Employee Free Choice Act outlaws secret-ballot elections on the question of unionization if a majority of employees sign union authorization cards (or other form of “authorizations” assigning a union as their “collective bargaining representative”).
Here is the text of HR 1409 (the so-called Employee Free Choice Act) regarding banning secret-ballot elections under majority “card-check”:
Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, whenever a petition shall have been filed by an employee or group of employees or any individual or labor organization acting in their behalf alleging that a majority of employees in a unit appropriate for the purposes of collective bargaining wish to be represented by an individual or labor organization for such purposes, the Board shall investigate the petition. If the Board finds that a majority of the employees in a unit appropriate for bargaining has signed valid authorizations designating the individual or labor organization specified in the petition as their bargaining representative and that no other individual or labor organization is currently certified or recognized as the exclusive representative of any of the employees in the unit, the Board shall not direct an election but shall certify the individual or labor organization as the representative described in subsection (a).” [Emphasis added.]
SECOND, GOVERNMENT-IMPOSED TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF A CONTRACT:
Following the unionization of employees, the employer and union have 10 days to meet and 90 days to negotiate. If an agreement cannot be reached within 90 days, the parties can go into mediation for 30 days. If no agreement is reached after 30 days of mediation, a government-imposed arbitration panel will force the parties into a binding agreement. This forced agreement shall be binding on the employees, the employer and the union for a period of two years.
2) CANNOT modify the government contract
3) CANNOT kick the union out (for two years)
4) and, perhaps most importantly, CANNOT strike in protest.
Note: A strike is the collective withholding of labor and, if workers cannot withhold their labor, then they effectively become economic serfs.
Employees will be voiceless, powerless and left with two options: Either keep their mouths shut and accept it, or quit as individuals.
THIRD, PUNITIVE FINES (UP TO $20,000) PER UNFAIR LABOR PRACTICE.
While this may seem reasonable to many, it should be understood that EFCA proposes fines only for employers who commit Unfair Labor Practices–not unions. This one-sidedness leaves employees vulnerable to union intimidation, coercion, as well as interference with regard to them exercising their Section Seven rights to refrain from union activities (if they so choose).
WHAT ARE EFCA’S LIKELY CONSEQUENCES?
- Immediate gains in union membership, swelling union coffers immensely
- Chilling effect on employer speech
- Closure of small companies under the burden of unionization, resulting in layoffs of workers (view article on EFCA’s killing of American jobs here).
- Capital flight in the form of more outsourcing of jobs, as larger companies take flight from the onerous burdens of unionization.
- More automation in those industries that cannot be outsourced resulting in fewer jobs
- Following the expiration of government-imposed two-year contracts, for those companies that can survive, there is likely to be a sharp increase in labor strife (i.e., union strikes and employer lockouts).
- Potential for one-party rule in state and national politics, as unions will be able to moblize millions of dollars and tens of thousands of members to polls