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Employee Free Choice Act is Introduced in House, Senate


March 17, 2009

As detailed in their press release, available here, Representative George Miller and Senator Ted Kennedy introduced the Employee Free Choice Act in the House and Senate on March 10, 2009.  The legislation, available here (House bill) and here (Senate bill), would require the National Labor Relations Board to certify a union after a majority of workers sign union authorization cards, and also would impose mandatory interest arbitration if an employer and union are unable to agree on a new collective bargaining agreement within 90 days of the union’s certification.  

The legislation was introduced amid intense lobbying efforts on Capitol Hill, where management and union leaders alike met with Senate and House members, as detailed by the New York Times.  All signs point to an all-out battle over the measure, as detailed by the Washington Post (also here, where EFCA is predicted to be one of “the nastiest fights of President Obama’s still young first term”)  and  the San Francisco Chronicle. Business groups clearly are gearing up for battle, as noted in this post detailing Citigroup Inc.’s conference call discussing EFCA the day after it was introduced. 

Many have criticized the bill, as noted in editorials and blogs posted by the Arizona Republic, the Detroit News  (also here), and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Notably, in a recent Wall Street Journal editorial, Peter Hurtgen, former Chairman of the National Labor Relations Board and former director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Services, joined by John Irving, former NLRB general counsel, condemn the bill’s mandatory interest arbitration provision, which has received much less attention than the “card check” provision but is “arguably worse” due to its interjection of government into collective bargaining.  Supporters of the bill, on the other hand, remain vocal as well, as noted by the Chicago Sun-Times, the AFL-CIO blog and the American Rights at Work Web site.

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