The union leaders and political activists behind the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) must be having a good laugh at the expense of folks who actually believe it offers free choice to employees. What’s not so funny is that this dangerous piece of legislation stands a good chance of passing in Congress this spring unless the business community takes immediate action.
This bill, also called “card check,” contains several provisions that should raise a red flag for any business owner. The current process for determining whether a workplace will be unionized starts with a union distributing cards for employees to sign indicating whether they want union representation.
If 30 percent of employees turn in “yes” cards, the union can file a petition for an election by secret ballot. The union and the employer then campaign for the workers’ votes. As part of this process, employers can share facts about the impact unionization would have on employees and on the company. Voting by secret ballot then determines whether employees will be represented by the union.
If the EFCA becomes law, the secret ballot provision will be thrown out. As soon as 51 percent of workers sign cards requesting union representation, the union can request certification from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Employers lose their right to communicate with their employees about the effects of unionization. In fact, talking about unionization will be considered an “unfair labor practice” punishable by $20,000 for each occurrence.
Not only will the unions be allowed to present their arguments without fear of being contradicted, but they can also approach workers on the job, in the parking lot and even at their homes to talk to them about signing a card. Without a secret ballot, people can be bullied or frightened into signing a card. Where is their “free choice” then?
Contract negotiations between employers and unions will also be radically different if the EFCA passes. Under EFCA, contract negotiations must begin within 10 days after the cards are counted. The parties then have 90 days to negotiate a contract. If they cannot reach an agreement, they face 30 days of mandatory mediation, and if they still cannot come to terms, a federally appointed arbitrator will step in and set terms for a 2-year contract, and the employer has no right of appeal.
How many of you want the federal government setting your wages and benefits, your hiring and firing practices, your staffing requirements and workplace regulations? Unions have bankrupted huge steel, automobile and airline companies with their unreasonable demands and burdensome regulations. You may think you don’t have to worry because your company is small enough to fly under the radar. However, this bill allows absolutely no exemptions for small businesses, even those employing fewer than 10 people.
The truly frightening thing about the EFCA is not the chilling economic effect it will have on businesses all across the country, but rather the political power it will put into the hands of union leaders. By forcing thousands more people to become dues-paying union members, this legislation will enable unions to amass a huge amount of money that will be used to promote their political agenda at every level of government.
The Center for Union Facts estimates that EFGA could raise between $3 billion and $5 billion in new revenue to support unions’ political efforts. Soft money donated by union groups can be used to support or oppose ballot measures at the state level. It can also be used to push out moderate Democrats in Congress in favor of those who will support a far-left agenda, including higher business taxes, more federal regulations and new wage and benefit mandates.
Business owners in Nevada need to act before it’s too late. The main battle will be in the Senate, where Democrats need 60 votes to hold off a Republican filibuster. Predictably, Sen. Reid is championing ERCA and Sen. Ensign is opposing it, and neither is likely to change his mind. However, political action committees supported by business groups are busy lobbying other senators who are still uncommitted, and it may come down to one vote either way. Contact your local Chamber of Commerce or other business organization today to see how you can support these efforts before it’s too late.
Originally published in Nevada Business Magazine: