San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

August 6th, 2009
Chamber urges defeat of EFCA


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.

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0 thoughts on “Chamber urges defeat of EFCA

  1. This is completely wrong:

    “The secret ballot election, as it now stands, is monitored by the employer and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).”

    The secret-ballot election is NOT monitored by the employer. In fact, while NLRB elections are often held on employer premises (since it is easier to have more employee participation), employers and their agents (supervisors, managers, etc) cannot be anywhere near the polling area. In fact, they cannot even have a visual sight of the “parade route” (voters going into the polling area).

  2. You’re right. The employer requests (or demands) the secret ballot election but they in no way are allowed to monitor it. I misspoke when I used the word “monitored.” An employer currently can refuse to accept the results of a card check and request a secret ballot election.
    The EFCA would take away the employer’s right to decide whether to hold an election and instead give the right to the employees when the card check does not yield a majority.
    The actual count of the ballots normally is held at the site of the election in the presence of representatives and designated observers from each interested party.

  3. In it’s current form (as described above) it is highly unlikely that EFCA will pass – it does not have the 60 votes needed in the Senate for Cloture. However, it has been reported that a compromise can be reached and the Bill passed if the “card check” provision is dropped and in it’s place a quick election (10 to 14 days after the election petition from the NLRB)added. Everything else including mediation and binding arbitration appears to still be in the compromised version of the Bill. On another note from what I have seen it is not the wage and/or benefit structure that so cripples a company with a union. Rather it is the complete loss of flexibility in the work force, no incentive for increasing production, and all of the bureaucracy in just dealing with the union – a huge loss of productivity and headache for managers and supervisors.

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