In a videotaped address, President Obama promised a group of union leaders that the controversial Employee Free Choice Act will become law.
The bill would make it easier for unions to recruit workers because it would give them the option of joining a union simply by signing cards rather than through secret-ballot elections in which companies can campaign against the union. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other business organizations have been campaigning against the legislation.
The Employee Free Choice Act is expected to be introduced sometime this year in the U.S. Senate, where it likely would be amended before being sent to the U.S. House. Here’s a copy of the Senate version , and there’s a summary below.
Obama’s announcement went out to about 100 union leaders who were meeting with Labor Secretary Solis in Miami.
What’s in the bill now
Here’s the summary of what the bill looks like right now:
- A union would have the right to be recognized as the exclusive bargaining representative of your employees if a majority of those employees sign authorization cards.
- If a majority of employees sign cards, an employer must begin bargaining within 10 days after the union is certified.
- If the union and the employer cannot agree upon the terms of a first collective-bargaining contract within 90 days, a federal mediator steps in.
- If, after 30 days of mediation, the union and employer still have not agreed on a contract, a federal arbitrator would be empowered to determine the terms of the agreement, and your employees would lose their current right to ratify the terms of the agreement.
- If an employer is found to have unlawfully terminated pro-union employees, the law would provide for liquidated damages of three times back pay. In addition, you’d be hit with a $20,000 penalty per occurrence if the National Labor Relations Board or a court finds against you.