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EFCAct legislation does not include card-check provision


August 2009 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

EFCAct legislation does not include card-check provision


REGION, August 1st- The main provision wanted by labor unions has been dropped from the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA)/Card Check legislation that will be likely be introduced in the United States Congress after their summer recess.

The legislation was passed by the House of Representatives in 2008, with both Congressman Chris Carney (Democrat-10th District) and Congressman Paul Kanjorski (Democrat-11 District) voting in favor. However, the legislation failed in the Senate with Pennsylvania Senator’s Robert Casey Jr. (Democrat) and Arlen Specter (Republican) voting for the bill. Mr. Specter has since changed his party affiliation to Democrat but announced on March 24th, 2009 would not support the legislation.

Under the prior EFCA legislation, employees would be allowed to sign authorization cards seeking union representation and the union would be recognized when a majority of cards are signed. However, under the legislation if thirty percent or more of the employees sign authorization cards requesting for the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) conduct an secret ballot election the agency will do so.

Labor groups, including the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) labor federation in Washington DC, and business groups, including the United States Chamber of Commerce, Wal-Mart, Lowe’s and McDonald’s Restaurants that opposed the legislation, spent millions of dollars in advertising and lobbying attempting to influence legislators on the EFCA.

The AFL-CIO mobilized union members and their families across the nation requesting them to contact their legislators asking them to support the legislation, including Senator Specter. Under Senate rules, at least 60 Senator votes are needed to force a vote on the legislation by the full-Senate.

On July 16th, the Senate negotiators dropped the card-check provision of the legislation. However, the revised legislation would require shorter unionization campaigns, faster elections, and a mediation system should the parties fail to reach an agreement within 120 days.

The Chamber of Commerce and business groups, which opposes the legislation, are now attacking the revised legislation by stressing how damaging they believe arbitration will be to employers.

The legislation is expected to easily pass in the House of Representatives where only a majority vote is needed. President Obama stated he would sign the measure should it reach his desk.

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