Over the last several months, there has been an enormous amount of attention given to the Employee Free Choice Act (“EFCA”).
EFCA, if passed by the new Congress, would make it very easy for unions to organize an employer’s workforce. In fact, when it was bottled up in the Senate during the last years of the Bush administration, the bill was described as the “most revolutionary change in labor law in 75 years.” If signed into law by President Obama, it would do away with secret ballot elections and allow unions to be designated as the representative of employees in a workforce based only on a simple majority of signed authorization cards. EFCA creates dangerous, radical legal concepts that will turn longtime labor policy on its head.
• Card checks will replace secret ballot elections.
• If first time negotiations with a union do not result in a collective bargaining agreement, a two-year contract will be imposed on an employer by an arbitrator.
• Companies will be assessed punitive damages for labor law violations that occur while a union is trying to organize a workforce — up to $20,000 per violation.
• Employers that have not been susceptible to union organizing in the past — such as financial institutions and high tech companies — will become targets of union organizing.
What are the chances that this law will pass? Both President Obama and Vice President Biden were supporters of the bill when it was first proposed in Congress in 2007. The AFL-CIO and every labor union in America have described EFCA as the top priority of their legislative agenda. The labor movement gave $450 million in contributions and thousands of hours of union volunteers’ time to the Elect Obama Campaign. Every single Democratic congressperson and senator has pledged to support EFCA. It seems pretty clear that EFCA — in some form — will become the law of the land early in the Obama administration.
What can an employer do? Lots! Besides lobbying your representatives in Congress and supporting the business groups trying to stop or at least slow down this legislative revolution, there are many things an employer can and should do before it’s too late.
The Morrison & Foerster EFCA Task Force has been following the legislation since 2006. We have devised a number of strategies for responding to union card-signing campaigns, avoiding certification following card checks, and for dealing with the consequences if certification is granted by the NLRB. We consider EFCA a real threat to our clients and want to help you prepare for the significant changes that are coming.
SPECIAL EFCA BRIEFING FOR OUR CLIENTS
Please join us for an in-depth presentation and discussion of ways to meet the coming challenge of EFCA.
Members of the EFCA Task Force will discuss:
• The new ways unions will win the right to represent your employees;
• Strategies for resisting card-check recognition;
• How to evaluate your workforce and its susceptibility for union organizing;
• The effects of other potential new laws on which “supervisors” get forced into the union if it prevails
• How to tell when a union card-signing campaign is underway and what to do about it;
• Preparing your managers and supervisors to understand the key issues and respond effectively (and legally) on the front lines of card-signing campaigns; and
• What other legal issues are likely to result from EFCA and how you can position yourself to deal with them.
Morrison & Foerster LLP (provider # 2183) certifies that this activity has been approved for MCLE credit by the State Bar of California in the amount of 1.0 hour.