Employee Free Choice Act

The Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), or "Card Check," Is like the Energizer Bunny, It never dies. It has been introduced in the last 4 Congresses, but it has never gained the 60 votes needed to pass in the Senate. Card Check would give the Labor Unions a greater advantage in organizing the work place. Union membership has declined considerably over the last half century. The Employee Free Choice Act is a controversial partisan issue that separates the conservatives and liberals down the middle. Unions and union supporters lobby for it while business and open shop employers vigorously oppose it.

The current method for workers to form a union in a particular workplace in the United States is a sign-up process and then an election. If at least 30-percent of the employees in a workplace sigh an authorization card the National Labor Relations Board orders a secret ballot election.

Under the Card Check method if 50-percent of the employees sign the authorization cards the workplace automatically becomes a union shop without an election. In addition if a contract dispute continues for more than 90 days a government arbitrator steps in and settles the dispute. The employer is bound by the agreement for two years.

Under Card Check, a union has no obligation to tell an employer it is launching an organization drive. An employer may not find out an organizing campaign is underway until ordered by the Federal government to start collective bargaining. Than the employer is pressed into a time frame for negotiating a bargaining agreement.

March 10, 2009, Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.)stated:
"The current process for forming unions is badly broken and so skewed in favor of those who oppose unions, that workers must literally risk their jobs in order to form a union. Although it is illegal, one-quarter of employers facing an organizing drive have been found to fire at least one worker who supports a union. In fact, employees who are active union supporters have a one-in-five chance of being fired for legal union activities. Sadly, many employers resort to spying, threats, intimidation, harassment and other illegal activity in their campaigns to oppose unions. The penalty for illegal activity, including firing workers for engaging in protected activity, is so weak that it does little to deter law breakers. Even when employers don't break the law, the process itself stacks the deck against union supporters. The employer has all the power; they control the information workers can receive, can force workers to attend anti-union meetings during work hours, can require workers to meet with supervisors who deliver anti-union messages, and can even imply that the business will close if the union wins. Union supporters access to employees, on the other hand, is heavily restricted. The Employee Free Choice Act would add some fairness to the system."

Representative John Kline (R-Minn.) stated:
"It is beyond me how one can possibly claim that a system whereby everyone - your employer, your union organizer, and your co-workers - knows exactly how you vote on the issue of unionization gives an employee free choice. It seems pretty clear to me that the only way to ensure that a worker is free to choose is to ensure that there's a private ballot, so that no one knows how you voted. I cannot fathom how we were about to sit there today and debate a proposal to take away a worker's democratic right to vote in a secret-ballot election and call it Employee Free Choice."

AFLCIO supports card check
Associated Buillding Contractors supports secret ballots