It’s b-a-a-a-a-a-a-ck. A “new and improved” — and reworked — Employee Free Choice Act came before Congress.
Almost hidden by larger stories about healthcare reform and the Sotomayor hearings, the EFCA appeared in a new form after several compromises by the White House and Congress.
Several reports indicate the bill’s supporters have agreed to drop the controversial card-check provision. What they want in exchange:
- A provision that mandates no more than a 10-day period between the time a union petitions for a vote and an actual election
- Granting union organizers with equal access to company property
- Banning mandatory employee meetings held by the company
Those provision closely follow what Sen. Arlen Specter (PA-D) asked for in exchange for his support for the bill.
Some of the provisions of the original EFCA bill still live in the newer form, such as:
- Increased penalties for employers who improperly interfere with union activities, including providing triple back pay to employees who are unlawfully discharged or discriminated against while involved in union activities during an organizing campaign or in the period before a first contract
- Civil fines of up to $20,000.00 per violation if an employer is found to have willfully or repeatedly violated employees’ rights during an organizing campaign or while bargaining for a first contract
- Injunction power by the National Labor Relations Board, which would be able to seek injunctive relief in federal court where there is cause to believe that the employer has discharged or discriminated against employees, made threats to discharge or discriminated against, or interfered with employees’ rights to organize or negotiate a first contract
- A beginning of bargaining within 10 days of certification
- When the union and employer are unable to reach a contract within 90 days of the first meeting, either party may notify the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service and request mediation
- If after thirty 30 days from the request for mediation no agreement has been reached, the FMCS must refer the dispute to an arbitration board which could fashion a collective bargaining agreement.
A vote on the compromise is expected by September.