There’s been a lot of talk about how the Republicans’ strong showing in the recent elections will slow down the Obama administration’s aggressive approach to union organizing and employment law enforcement. Most of it is wishful thinking.
Here’s a look at the key issues:
The Employee Free Choice Act — the pro-union legislation that would have eliminated secret-ballot union voting for a “card check” system — is probably a goner, given the new makeup of Congress.
But that doesn’t mean the administration will back down on supporting a number of the principles embodied in EFCA.
Many observers feel the National Labor Relations Board — controlled by Democrats since the president’s appointment of two former labor leaders, Craig Becker and Mark Pearce — will try to achieve via rulemaking what they couldn’t get through Congress.
The latest evidence: Pearce’s recent comment that the time period between the filing of an organizing petition and a vote should be “as brief as possible.”
Translation: The quicker the vote, the less opportunity companies would have to make their case against the union — which is precisely what the card check proposal was designed to do.
Employment law enforcement
As you’re no doubt aware, the DOL, EEOC and Immigration and Customs Enforcement have all stepped up enforcement efforts. And those programs probably won’t change much.
It’s probable that Republicans will attempt to block funding for some agency enforcement programs, but that’s likely to be more of a delaying tactic than a trump card.
Best bet: Don’t let your guard down on employee classifications, I-9 procedures and anti-discrimination/retaliation training for managers.