Under current labor law, the U.S. National Labor Relations Board will certify a union as the exclusive representative of employees if it is elected by either a majority signature drive, the card check process, or by secret ballot NLRB election, which is held if more than 30% of employees in a bargaining unit sign statements asking for representation by a union. If enacted, this bill would require the NLRB to certify a bargaining representative without directing an election if a majority of the bargaining unit employees signed cards, the card check process.
Pursuant to the bill, a union can demand that an employer begin bargaining within ten days of certification of the union as the exclusive bargaining representative for an appropriate unit of employees via the card check. In addition, if the union and employer cannot agree upon the terms of a first collective bargaining contract within ninety days, either party can request federal mediation, which could lead to binding arbitration if an agreement still cannot be reached after thirty days of mediation.
Where government arbitration determines terms of the agreement,employees would lose their current right to ratify the terms of the agreement.
Finally, the Act would provide for liquidated damages of three times back pay if employers were found to have unlawfully terminated pro-union employees.The EFCA also would impose a ,000 penalty upon employers for each employer violation of the proposed legislation if the NLRB and/or a court deems the violation willful or repetitive.
Why is the Employee Free Choice Act so important in leveling the playing field?
The AFL-CIO argues that, in practice, company-run secret ballots actually make the process less democratic:
People call the current National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) election system a secret ballot election—but in fact it's not like any democratic election held anywhere else in our society. It's really a management-controlled election process because corporations have all the power. They control the information workers can receive and routinely poison the process by intimidating, harassing, coercing and even firing people who try to organize unions.
No employee has free choice after being browbeaten by a supervisor to oppose the union or being told they might lose their job and livelihood if workers vote for the union.
Martin Jay Levitt said it best when he said:
"Union busting is a field populated by bullies and built on deceit. A campaign against a union is an assault on individuals and a war on the truth. As such, it is a war without honor. The only way to bust a union is to lie, distort, manipulate, threaten, and always, always attack."
Confessions of a Union Buster
by Martin Jay Levitt
When corporations seek to stay union free, they often do so by hiring labor relations consultants or labor attorneys. Understanding that the union depends upon the support, confidence, and good will[of its members.
One of managements main reasons on why they will spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in union-busters trying to prevent their employees from unionizing is the fact they know they will lose total control of their organization to their employees by way of unionization.
As to the Employee Free Choice Act, one of the opponents' biggest arguments is that by passing the Employee Free Choice Act it would takeaway the process of a secret ballot election.
Representative John Kline, R-Minn., has stated: “I cannot fathom how we were about to sit there today and debate a proposal to take away a worker's democratic right to vote in a secret-ballot election and call it 'Employee Free Choice”.
One of the most misleading arguments made by opponents of the Employee Free Choice Act is that the Employee Free Choice Act would strip American workers of their right to a private-ballot vote. This is not true.
Under the Employee Free Choice Act any union who receives majority support of those workers seeking to be represented by that particular union, will still have the right to file an election with the NLRB to conduct a secret ballot election if it so chooses. However I would agree this would be unlikely if a union does receive a majority support for a number of reasons.
One reason it would delay the process. Number two, why would any union take a chance conducting an election with the possibility of losing such an election based on management conducting an all out assault against its employee by hiring union-busters to defeat these workers. One of the biggest disadvantages against the union is that the union is not allowed access to the work force during their eight hours of work each day, but the union buster can occupy as much of that time as is considered necessary, which now subjects employees to mandatory union-busting meetings, harassment, fear, threats, coercing, twisted disinformation and many other tools union-busting consultants use.
The NLRA Section 7, is the heart of the NLRA.It defines protected activity.
National Labor Relations Act, Section 7: RIGHTS OF EMPLOYEES
Sec. 7. § 157. Employees shall have the right to self-organization, to form, join, or assist labor organizations, to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing, and to engage in other concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection, and shall also have the right to refrain from any or all such activities except to the extent that such right may be affected by an agreement requiring membership in a labor organization as a condition of employment as authorized in section 8(a)(3) section 158(a)(3) of this title.
Having conducted over a thousand elections over the last 30 years I can clearly state that workers only achieve their Section 7 rights to unionize if they can withstand the torture and physiological warfare bestowed upon them during the critical period 42 days leading up to a secret ballot election.
Which now leads up to my next argument. In an effort to pass the Employee Free Choice Act and to level the playing field and at the same time to takeaway the oppositions most misleading argument that the Employee Free Choice Act would strip American workers of their right to a private-ballot vote, we should have congress amend H.R. 800 EFCA to include a provision whereby the signer (the employee) can either request a secret ballot election and/or request that the union membership card he or she just signed be used as a showing of interest to bypass an election under a card check provision supporting majority status under the Employee Free Choice Act.
By amending this provision the true intentions of the employee who signed the union membership card would now be clearly stated, giving true meaning to the Employee Free Choice Act, while taking away the oppositions argument that the Employee Free Choice Act would strip American workers of their right to a private secret -ballot vote.
A compromise every union can live with.
For More Information on EFCA please visit our website and blog http://www.employeefreechoiceactnow.org http://efcanow.blogspot.com/