The “Employee Free Choice Act” (EFCA) is a bill intended to lower substantially the bar for labor unions to organize private sector workplaces. EFCA aims to amend the National Labor Relations Act in three significant ways:
Certification of Union by Card-Check: The bill replaces the secret-ballot election as the primary vehicle for employees to decide upon union representation. It will instead require an employer to recognize a union as soon as the National Labor Relations Board finds that a majority of employees in an appropriate unit has signed union authorization cards.
Mandatory Interest Arbitration for First Contracts: EFCA provides if an employer and union are unable to settle upon a first collective-bargaining agreement within ninety (90) days, it must be submitted to mediation by the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS). If after thirty (30) days, mediation does not result in an agreement, the dispute is to be submitted to a panel of arbitrators who will impose the terms of a two-year contract binding upon the parties.
Increased Legal and Economic Penalties Against Employers for Violations During Organizing Drives or First Contract Negotiations: The bill would change the National Labor Relations Act’s remedial provisions to impose greater penalties during any period while employees are attempting to organize a union or negotiate a first contract:
a. Mandatory Injunctions: It would require the National Labor Relations Board to seek a federal court injunction against an employer whenever there is reasonable cause to believe that the employer has discharged or discriminated against employees, threatened to discharge or discriminate against employees, or engaged in conduct that significantly interferes with employee rights.
b. Treble Backpay: It would require an employer to pay three times back-pay to any employee who is discharged or discriminated against during an organizing campaign or first contract drive.
c. Civil Penalties: It would provide for civil fines of up to $20,000 per violation against employers found to have willfully or repeatedly violated the law.
The full text of EFCA, as introduced in the 110th Congress, is located here. The MLA white paper, analyzing EFCA in greater detail and exploring its prospects in the 111th Congress is available here.
EFCA Report tracks developments, compiles resources and discusses management perspectives related to the Employee Free Choice Act.