San Marcos Area Chamber of Commerce (SMACC) President Phyllis Snodgrass recently emailed a memorandum to chamber members urging the defeat of the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), introduced as HR1409 and S560.
Gridlocked in 2007, the bill was re-introduced by Senator Edward Kennedy (D-Massachusetts) to the 111th United States Congress on March 10.
The bill, an amendment to the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) of 1935, would make it easier to establish labor unions for employees who desire them.
The secret ballot election, as it now stands, is monitored by the employer and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The amendment would forgo the secret ballot, and the acceptance of a union could be based on the card surveys of employees that presently precede such elections.
The employer would be then be given 10 days after certification to start collective bargaining with the union. If no agreement is reached within 90 days, either party can refer the dispute to the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS). If after 30 days the FMCS cannot facilitate agreement, the matter would be sent to arbitration, which would then be binding for two years.
Under the current system, a card check is the initial step of union organization. If the union gets 30 percent employee support, based on the filling out of cards or forms, then the NLRB is called in by the employer to conduct a secret ballot election. A company can refuse to bargain with a union chosen by workers through majority sign-up, even if 100 percent of the workers want to be represented by the union.
According to Snodgrass’s letter, “Passage of the EFCA would dramatically reduce an employer’s ability to manage their business. It would eliminate the current process of certifying a union. It would not give an employer the necessary amount of time to participate in fair collective bargaining with the union. It would eliminate an employer’s ability to manage their employees according to state & federal laws, and effectively wipe out many smaller businesses across the country that will suffocate under unrealistic wage & benefit demands from the unions.”
The NLRA’s union certification guidelins exempt non-retail businesses with gross revenues of $50,000 a year or less and retail businesses with gross revenues of less than $500,000 a year. These figures have remained the same since 1959.
There have been no significant amendments to the NLRA since the 1947 Taft-Hartley Act.Email | Print