Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Alternatives to Card Check: What does your sausage look like?

While the Obama Administration has made 'Card Check' legislation a priority, the Congress appears to have other ideas.

Legislators have started to propose alternative approaches to the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA; H.R.1409, S. 560) which are more likely to satisfy constituents on both the labor and management sides of the issue.

The National Labor Relations Modernization Act (H.R. 1355), introduced by Delaware County Congressman Joe Sestak (D-PA), would apply only to employers of 20 or more. It establishes a 120 day period (versus 90 under EFCA) within which the employer and employee can attempt to bargain collectively, after which the parties are referred to mediation or arbitration.

The NLRMA has other provisions which expand the rights of organizing employees, increase civil penalties for violations, and requires employers to outline for organizing employees the activities in which they intend to engage to oppose any unionizing campaign. Some of these may actually be more onerous on employers than the EFCA, but the bill does not abolish the secret ballot requirement, and therefore avoids the most controversial provision of EFCA.

Watching legislation pass is comparable to watching sausage being made; but it is clear that one way or another, this sausage is going to be made. It will be interesting to see how the final legislation that lands on the President’s desk will compare with the original EFCA language.


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