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What's up with the Employee Free Choice Act?

Written by Martha

What's up with the Employee Free Choice Act?  The short answer is… not much.
Most recently, in September, Sen. Arlen Specter described his work on a revised version of the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA).  Specifically, Sen. Specter stated that the revised version of the bill would drop the controversial card-check provision, which would allow workers to circumvent the secret ballot election process by getting their co-workers simply to sign pro-union cards.  Instead, the bill would shorten the time between the announcement that an election would be held and the election itself.  Union organizers would also be granted more access to employees during this period.
The revised bill would also modify the mandatory arbitration provision of the original bill, which provides that arbitrators would set the terms of the initial collective bargaining agreement if employers and new unions fail to reach agreement on a new contract within a few months following certification of a union as the bargaining representative.  Under the revised bill, there would be “last best offer arbitration,” whereby the arbitrator would impose the last offer made by either the employer or the union, in its entirety.
Since September, there has been little press concerning the EFCA and little public debate about the law. Unless, of course, you count a print ad, run by the AFL-CIO, featuring Mark Teixeira and other members of the Major League Baseball Players Association pitching the benefits of strong labor organization, or a rap song critical of the EFCA which is published on a site sponsored by the Associated Builders and Contractors and the Free Enterprise Alliance … 
Presumably Congressional and public attention will return to the EFCA when Congress finishes dealing with health care reform legislation.

 

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Author

David Barmak

Member / Chair Emeritus, Employment, Labor & Benefits Practice

David Barmak is an experienced trial lawyer at Mintz who focuses his practice on employment law and HR issues. He litigates cases in federal and state courts and arbitrations across the country. David counsels clients on compliance and employee relations issues and risk reduction options.