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Federal bill to eliminate secret balloting on unionization drives to be examined Oct. 22 at free CATA presentation

November 17, 2010

"Perhaps the most audacious labor proposal in recent memory," said David Radelet, "is much closer to becoming a reality than many know. The Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) would strip away the right to a secret ballot election in union organization drives."

Radelet leads the CATA’s employment relations counsel, Franczek Radelete & Rose. He will review the legislation and its impact at a free seminar Oct. 22. See the registration flier in the print edition of this newsletter. Completed registrations must be faxed to the CATA.

Although the House passed the measure in March, 241 to 185, it is unlikely to pass during the 110th U.S. Congress. But it could be resurrected in January by the 111th Congress, and Barack Obama has said he would sign the bill as president.

The EFCA would radically change the employment climate in America for the forseeable future. The employment law council of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, among others, is beginning a major drive to inform employers and urging them to become involved in the effort to stop the EFCA.

Among other things, the EFCA would eliminate the opportunity for employees to vote for a union by secret ballot when a majority of employees sign union cards and the National Labor Relations Board does not find illegal coercion.

A union then could demand that an employer begin bargaining with it 10 days after the union is certified as the exclusive bargaining representative for an appropriate unit of employees via the card check. If a collective bargaining contract cannot be finalized in 120 days, the matter would be decided by arbitration that would be binding for two years.

Arbiters, Radelet noted, would unlikely be educated on the nuances of dealership operations. He said dealers should prepare now for the EFCA by attending the presentation.