The Battle Continues Over Check Card Legislation
|Senator Arlen Specter could be the deciding vote on the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA). That is, if the bill ever gets to the Senate floor. A Republican for more than 4 decades, Specter switched to the Democratic Party in April of this year. With the switch came hope for the Democrats that they would be able to pass the EFCA as it stands today.
However, Specter has previously stated that he would not vote for the bill as it currently stands. Specter has not been clear on his current stance on the bill, and Democrats are worried by his wavering. Specter has asked his constituents for their feedback on the Act and several businesses and workers have signed petitions in support and in opposition to the pending legislation. The AFL-CIO has called for Specter to join them in support of the Act.
Senator Diane Feinstien is another member of the Senate who has voiced a strong opinion against the current EFCA. Instead of allowing unions to be certified if they receive a majority of signed authorization cards, she proposes that workers mail their ballots directly to the National Labor Relations Board. Others have proposed a shortened election process which may stop intimidation by employers.
Mitt Romney, a likely 2012 Republican presidential nominee, has also voiced strong opposition to the Act. On May 28, 2009 he made a speech in Northern Virginia to business advocates. Romney claimed that the increased costs of unionization would drive businesses out of the United States and would cause serious damage to those who remained.
The 40 Senate Republicans have threatened to filibuster this bill should it come to a vote.
Another big battle that could affect the bill is not within the Senate, but instead between some of the biggest labor leaders. The Service Employees International (SEIU), the second-biggest union in America, is fighting with two factions of UNITE HERE over leadership and strategy issues. SEIU has threatened to raid the members of UNITE HERE and take over $400 million of their assets. Analysts say that the unions are spending so much time fighting among themselves that they are wasting resources that could be used to support the EFCA.
It could be months until a compromise is reached, or any vote takes place on the floor of the Senate. Until then, employers should keep abreast of the issue and be sure they are prepared. Brody and Associates regularly advises management on complying and remaining up to date with state and federal employment laws. If we can be of assistance in this area, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 203.965.0560.