Election Day is a Vote on the Employee Free Choice Act

This is not a "partisan" blog. We don't care for whom you vote. We represent employers/ management, though. So, we tend to discuss legal developments through a prism of how they affect the employer. And that's. O.K.

I bring up the election because, let's face it, all blogs are about the election. Why should ours be any different? Oh, and it's pretty much a given that the fate of the so-called "Employee Free Choice Act" will turn on which candidate is elected President next Tuesday. It pays to know what the law is, what it will bring to your business, and whether you can live with it. We can certainly live with it here at SV (once we hire enough lawyers to handle all of the work that this law is going to generate for us.) Hint hint.

Essentially, the law (if passed) will make it possible for unions to organize workers without a secret ballot election, merely by signing up a "majority" of the workers in an appropriate bargaining unit. Once the union demonstrates its status as representative, contract negotiations must start within 10 days of the union's request. The parties must negotiate a first contract in 90 days. If the parties fail, then there's mediation. If you're ok with all this so far, then here's the part that might concern you if you are a business owner or manager (and maybe if you're a union member too): if mediation fails, a government appointed arbitrator will decide on a first contract for you. ("Hello, I'm the government arbitrator. I'm here to help. So, I'll be deciding the employees' wages, and what the terms of your contract will be, too!") If you don't believe, me, the link to the proposed law is here.

The private sector workforce is about 7% unionized now. When employers are able to explain to employees what unionization will bring, employers win the election about 50% of the time. But when employers are silent, unions win a vast majority of the time - possibly 80% of the time? If there is no secret ballot, no campaign and a union's representation will be based only on whether union organizers can convince employees to sign an authorization card at a pizza and beer fest down at the local union hall? Well, you do the math.

So, here's a selection of law firm articles on the EFCA. If you seek balance, try Yoga. Or you can Google the AFL-CIO's or union advocates' explanation of the law, too. Again, the text of the current version of the bill, HR 800, is here. There, now you can vote.