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Efca

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EFCA Employee Free Choice Act
Relissa Watson
Business 405
November 29, 2009

“The EFCA is a bill presently being considered in the United States Congress.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Employeefreechoiceact The EFCA’S main focus is the amendment to the NLRA (National Labor Relations Act). The amendment will allow employees the choice of forming, joining, assisting labor organizations, and it will provide injunctions for unfair labor practices. The present labor law uses a process called check card. The process starts with employees receiving blank cards from their current union, and getting signatures on the cards from their colleagues. At least 30% of the workers must sign these cards in order for the employer to ask the NLRB to hold a secret ballot election, to decide if the employees want to be in a union.
Check Card results are not revealed to the employer until at least 50 to 60% of the employees have signed the cards. If the EFCA comes to pass it will change the present procedure and require the NLRB to certify the unions as bargaining representatives. This process will change the process that is currently in place and it will change the secret ballot process employees of a bargaining unit are currently using. The new process will allow employees to use secret ballot elections when the majority has decided to join the union through the check-card process.
The NLRA established in 1935 made it legal to form unions once the majority has signed bargaining cards. Bargaining cards were an indication of union representation and contract negotiation with the possibility of better wages and benefits. The EFCA will have a provision that guarantees workers the choice of a union contract.

“Pursuant to the bill, a union can demand that a company begin bargaining within 10 days of certification of the union as the exclusive bargaining representative for an appropriate unit of employees via either an NLRB election or majority sign-up (check-card)”. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/employeefreechoiceact
John Paul Ferguson performed a study that revealed only a small percentage of unions that win elections, will never negotiate a first contract. The study also showed that unions lose their status after going a full year without a contract. After 30 days of mediation with no agreement reached the act calls for arbitration to make sure employees have a contract. The act will also compensate employees for liquidated damages if the have been terminated illegally for trying to establish a union. The EFCA will also charge fines in the amount of $20,000 to employers for imposing on workers rights while organizing efforts are taking place if the courts deem necessary. In the early part of 2007 the act was passed by the House of Representatives. The Senate wanted to prevent cloture, and a filibuster by the republicans, but fell short of the votes needed. The bill was not passed by congress. Edward Kennedy supported the Senate version of the EFCA in July 2009. The most drastic change in the EFCA gives workers the choice of how the union is formed.

The EFCA will not change any of the current standards of the National Labor Relations Board. The NLRB will still hold the same jurisdiction as it did in 1959. The NLRB makes it clear that a union must have a minimum of two employers with no “supervisory authority” all small businesses are exempt. In order for the rights of workers to be protected according to “proponents of the legislation,” changes must be made. At present employers don’t have a workers authorization form that has been signed showing that they have union representation. The main purpose of the EFCA is employees will be able to make their own choices about bargaining, better wages, and working conditions without being afraid of harassment and intimidation and fear of their livelihood changes.
The current President Barack Obama supports the bill, and has constantly urged the Senate to pass it in 2007.
“I support the bill because in order to restore a sense of shared prosperity and security, we need to help working Americans exercise their right to organize under fair and free process and bargain for their share of wealth our country creates. The current process for organizing workplace denies too many workers the ability to do so. The Employee Free Choice Act offers to make binding an alternative process under which a majority of employees can sign up to join a union. Currently, employers can choose to accept—but are not bound by law to accept—the signed decision of a majority of workers. That choice should be left to workers and workers alone.” stated by our President Barack Obama. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EmployeeFreeChoiceAct

Jeff Madrick an Editor seems to think that blue collar jobs are disappearing as the manufacturing industry declines. The white collar jobs offer poor pay, little healthcare coverage, small pensions and no job security. Republican Senators supported the Secret Ballot Protection Act. This act will eliminate the check card practice. The House of Representatives opposed a similar bill in 1947 during the Red Scare. George McGovern a democratic opposes the bill because hr refuses to strip Americans of their rights to use a secret ballot. Members of the Democratic Party will continue to support the working class.
Representative George Miller also a democrat supports the bill because he feels that the current union formation has been damaged. He also feels that workers should take a chance at job loss in order to form a union. He also feels that the process that is currently in place for firing workers needs work. The current process that is in place gives the employer all of the power to make workers attend anti-union activities, and control all of the information that non union works receive. Employers often spy on employees, make threats, and use various forms of harassment to go against union organization.
Earlier this year in March the bill was once again presented to congress by Senator Ted Kennedy. Senator Kennedy feels this bill is the right step to put our economy back on track. Workers need the chance to fight for themselves and help share prosperity. With all of this effort the Builders and Contractors Association still sent letters to congress opposing the bill in April of 2009.

References:
Retrieved November 22, 2009 from http://www.aflcio.org/joinaunion/voiceatwork/efca/10keyfacts.cfm
Retrieved November 17, 2009 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/employeefreechoiceact
Retrieved November 17, 2009 http://www.cwa-legislative.org/fact-sheets/page.jsp?itemID=27453946

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