Card Check Provision of EFCA Unlikely to Survive but Employers Still Need to Prepare Now for Pro-Union Legislation
July 17, 2009
The Employee Free Choice Act's Card Check Provision Unlikely to Survive.
We have previously pointed out that the Employee Free Choice Act (“EFCA”) is bad for employers and employees alike because it would remove the protection of a secret ballot in favor of a “card check” process that would permit unions to organize a workforce simply by having a majority of workers sign a union card. This card check provision now appears to be dead as Democratic supporters of the EFCA in the Senate signal their willingness to abandon it in order to secure labor reform legislation sooner rather than later.1
The death of card check does not mean that employers should no longer be concerned about the EFCA, however. If passed, the new law would limit the time employers have to educate workers regarding the pitfalls of union membership by requiring a representation election within 5-10 days after a certain percentage of workers sign cards in favor of a union. The EFCA would also broaden union access to company property and prevent employers from mandating employee attendance at anti-union meetings. Perhaps most troubling is a provision in the proposed legislation that permits a federal arbitrator to dictate the terms of the contract between an employer and a union if the parties fail to reach agreement on wages and other working conditions.
Given the current makeup of Congress, and the willingness of the EFCA’s key supporters to compromise regarding the final version of the law, the passage of some form of pro-union legislation in the near future appears likely. Employers should therefore take action now to create and maintain a workplace atmosphere that minimizes the appeal of unionization to their workers. Important steps in this regard include regular and open communication with employees and prompt attention to worker complaints. Workplace rules should be fair, clearly communicated and consistently enforced. If employees feel that they are valued, listened to, and treated fairly, they are more likely to possess a level of job satisfaction that will provide the best defense to what is likely to be an increased level of union organizing initiatives in the coming months.
If you have any questions about this information, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our Labor & Employment Law Group.