The Employee Free Choice Act – or "card check" bill – remains sidelined in Congress as legislators focus their efforts on health reform. However, a small group of senators is continuing to search for a compromise on the controversial legislation. As we go to press, rumors continue to swirl about the status of these negotiations.
Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA)
In the past few weeks, several news organizations reported that a group of Senate Democrats involved in the “behind-the-scenes” negotiations had agreed to drop the so-called card-check provision. This provision, which would require the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to certify a union as soon as a majority of workers signed cards in favor of union representation, has been opposed by several moderate Democrats and nearly all Republicans. These lawmakers share SHRM’s belief that a secret ballot election – not a card-collection drive – best protects the privacy rights of employees to cast their vote for or against a union.
The unofficial compromise language under consideration would retain an employer’s right to request a private ballot election for employees, but would include a new requirement that an election must take place within five days of submission of 30-percent-plus-one of signed authorization cards.
Also, this compromise proposal is believed to include: 1) a new requirement that employers must give union organizers access to employer property; and 2) a requirement for mandatory arbitration after a short negotiation period.
Please be aware that this compromise is by no means a done deal according to the Senate sponsor of EFCA.
Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), the major player leading the discussions among swing vote senators, recently noted, “I think we’re 80 to 90 percent there.”
SHRM believes the current rules governing labor organizing drives are fair for unions and employers. According to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), elections occur promptly (median time is 38 days) and unions win more than half of elections held under current law. You can access SHRM’s “Employee Representation Toolkit” by clicking HERE.
Throughout 2009, SHRM’s grassroots efforts to stop EFCA have been aggressive. Members have sent more than 42,000 letters to Congress sharing the HR perspective on the card check legislation. The overwhelming activism by SHRM members and others within the business community is one reason this unpopular legislation has not yet been voted on in 2009.
You can send a letter to your U.S. senators and representative by accessing HR Voice and clicking on “OPPOSE the Employee Free Choice Act!”