Employee Free Choice Act
The Executive Board of the PPMA endorsed the EFCA at our January meeting. It was recently introduced in Congress and President Obama has said that he will sign it if it reaches his desk. It would greatly simplify the steps that employees have to take to form a union and to be recognized by an employer. One of the most important features of the Act is the ability of employees to choose whether or not to unionize by signing authorization cards, known as “card check.” Currently the NLRB must supervise a secret ballot election in order for workers to secure union representation, heavily stacking the deck in favor of employers due to the time that elapses between the request for an election and when the election can be held. During that time employers have engaged in coercion and threats to discourage their employees from seeking union representation. Contrary to what you may have seen in TV commercials or the print media, the secret ballot election would not be abolished, but the choice of having a secret ballot would be the decision of workers, not their employers. The EFCA would also dramatically increase the fines for employers who violate worker’s rights when they attempt to organize. Currently an employer can simply pay a small fine and continue their illegal activity.

Opponents of EFCA have introduced legislation called the Secret Ballot Protection Act, to supposedly safeguard worker’s rights to a secret ballot election. But it omits a critical component of EFCA which is that under the EFCA employees would get to make that decision, not management. The EFCA is a giant step forward in leveling the playing field for workers. For more information on the details of EFCA, go to www.aflcio.org.


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