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Preparing for the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA)

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October 28, 2008

As you may already know, Congress is actively considering a new law called the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA). EFCA would radically transform the process by which a union organizes your workers and make it much easier for a union to get in.

  • EFCA would eliminate the secret ballot election that is normally required for your employees to select a union, and replace it with a much less formal "card check" process that is controlled by the union and is secretive, selective, and susceptible to abuse and coercion.
  • Even more alarming are provisions in EFCA that would require so-called "interest arbitration" of the first contract once a union gets in. Under these provisions, if the first contract is not negotiated to conclusion between the parties within a relatively short 120-day period, the contract dispute would be referred to an arbitrator who would then determine the contract terms for a two-year period with no right of appeal.

The potential impact of all of this on your business can hardly be overstated. Importantly, EFCA is no idle threat. EFCA has already passed the House, and is currently favored by a slight majority in the Senate. The passage of EFCA is organized labor's top legislative priority. Indeed, many are predicting that EFCA will become the law of the land sometime early next year.

You may believe that your workforce is not vulnerable to union organizing, but the decline in traditional union membership has prompted unions to branch out into other sectors of the workforce. In recent years, unions have attempted to organize doctors, lawyers, engineers, accountants and many other traditionally "white collar" professionals. In short, virtually any employee who is not a supervisor may be viewed as a potential target for union organizers.

One thing is certain - - the sooner your organization begins to prepare for EFCA, the better positioned you will be to withstand union organizing efforts once EFCA becomes law. To help you understand and prepare for EFCA, our Firm will be offering an informational seminar in January for Human Resource professionals, in-house attorneys and other members of your key management team.

More information regarding this seminar will be sent to you after the election results are finalized. In the meantime, if you would like more information about EFCA or would like us to come to your office to discuss EFCA with others on your management team, please contact Amy Moor Gaylord via e-mail or call 312.786.6172.

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