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Employee Free Choice Act is still on the horizon

November 10, 2010

The Employee Free Choice Act, a union-organizing bill, has been little discussed lately, but the threat of it coming up in Congress lingers. Following the 2008 elections, labor unions expected President Obama to push forth the EFCA as one of his first major initiatives. Fortunately for the businesses that oppose this legislation, innumerous advocacy efforts dissuaded Congress from taking up the legislation in 2009.

Now there is speculation that EFCA could become a reality via the National Labor Relations Board, to which union-backer Craig Becker recently was appointed, rather than via the legislative process. The NLRB already is considering enacting provisions from EFCA, including penalties for "violations" of labor laws.

Because 2010 is an election year, Democratic leadership might be is hesitant to hold debate and votes on EFCA, in case it goes awry. Another possibility is that elements of the original EFCA could crop up in unrelated bills that Congress would pass.

Opponents of EFCA contend that if the matter becomes law it will strip workers of their right to a secret ballot election during unionization and will replace it with the card check system. Using the card check method, once union organizers collect 30 percent of signed employee authorization cards, they then could present the cards to the National Labor Relations Board as representing the true intent of all the workers. 

Card-check organizing often happens so quickly that smaller employers, like many automobile dealerships, do not have an opportunity to encourage their employees to oppose unionization; the process would allow only the union representative’s side of the debate to be heard.

Without an election, employees would be susceptible to harassment, misinformation and pressure by union organizers to sign authorization cards.

The CATA opposes the Employee Free Choice Act because it threatens dealers, manufacturers, and their workers. Dealers are encouraged to contact their federal representatives on this matter and urge them to reject the legislation.