- Proposed Employee Free Choice Act
- March 9, 2009
- Law Firm: Krieg DeVault LLP - Indianapolis Office
The Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) is bipartisan legislation addressing union activity in the workplace. The EFCA would (1) impose stronger penalties on employers who illegally coerce or intimidate workers in an effort to prevent unionization; (2) require a neutral third party to settle a contract if the employer and newly- certified union cannot agree on terms after a 3-month period; and (3) require a company to recognize a union as the exclusive bargaining agent if a majority of employees sign union authorization cards validated by the NLRB.
Prior to the election of President Barack Obama, the EFCA passed the U.S. House of Representative in March, 2007, but failed to pass in the U.S. Senate, some say, due to a Republican filibuster. Speculation about the fate of the EFCA continues given the new political climate. Interestingly, on January 20, 2009, several television commercials supporting the EFCA aired on national news channels during the coverage of President Obama's inaugural events.
The fate of EFCA is uncertain. What is certain, though, is that employers can and should take steps now to address the issue of unionization in the workplace. Contrary to popular belief, the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) does not prohibit employers from addressing union issues in the workplace provided that those efforts comply with the NLRA.