It's Back - The Playing Field For Union Organizing Shifts


March 11, 2009 - Long dissatisfied with the lackluster growth of

union membership in the private sector, for the last two years

unions have aggressively lobbied and built up their war chests to

push through a series of laws and propose Executive Orders to tilt

the playing field in favor of union organizing. The

centerpiece of this campaign has been to pass the Employee Free

Choice Act ("EFCA"). One belief is that passage of EFCA

could have the result of jumping union membership from 7.5% to

20%. In 2007, the unions failed to muster the needed votes to

pass EFCA and have been waiting for the right time to reintroduce

the Act. Characterized by many employers as legalizing stealth

organizing and allowing outside dictation of working conditions in

private businesses, the bill enjoys strong support by President

Obama and the democratically controlled House of Representatives.

Last week in an address to the AFL-CIO, President Obama endorsed

EFCA and yesterday EFCA was introduced into the U.S. House of


How Does EFCA Tilt The Playing Field?

NO SECRET BALLOT ELECTION: Right now, in the normal course of

organizing, employees must vote to have a union represent them in a

secret ballot election monitored by the National Labor Relations

Board ("NLRB"). Unions have long been frustrated that

they lose too many of these elections due to employer outreach to

employees during the authorized campaign period before the

election. EFCA would allow unions to bypass the secret ballot

process and any campaign period before the election. There would be

no formal notification to an employer that a union was trying to

organize employees. Unions could solicit employees to sign

cards without an employer ever knowing that organizing was


FAST TRACT TO UNION CONTACT: If a majority of the employees in

a bargaining unit sign valid authorization cards, the NLRB would

have to certify the union as the bargaining representative and the

employer would have to immediately start bargaining.

BINDING ARBITRATION: Today when a new contract is negotiated it

is truly a give and take process between employer and union. If no

contract is reached, the union can take actions including a strike,

and both employer and union can file claims with the NLRB over

unfair labor actions. Under EFCA, if the employer and union have

not reached agreement on the terms of a first contract within

90-days after bargaining begins, either party may request

mediation. If mediation...

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