If you keep up with labor relation or HR issues, then you’ve probably heard of the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) or what others call as the ‘card-check bill’. It proposes to “establish an easier system to enable employees to form, join, or assist labor organizations, to provide for mandatory injunctions for unfair labor practices during organizing efforts”. This is a controversial issue that employees, employers, labor unions, and even the government have been debating about, and proponents on both sides all have strong arguments to the advantages and disadvantages of the legislation.
List of Pros of the Employee Free Choice Act
1. It allows employees to form a union easily.
With the current labor law, employees who wish to join a union talk to other workers and ask them to sign authorization cards. Thirty percent of the workforce must sign to call for an election by way of secret balloting. The management can then accept but is not required to agree with the formation of a union. With the EFCA, there is no need for secret balloting if more than half of employees sign authorization cards from an existing labor union.
2. It protects employees from the abuse of their rights as workers.
If a company unlawfully fires an employee who is pro union, the employer will have to give three times the back pay of that worker. With this protection, companies will refrain from using unfair labor practices.
3. It balances the power between companies and employees.
Once workers are allowed to freely join labor unions, they have better chances of gaining better working conditions, benefits, and compensation packages. If they are granted these, they can perform better and can be more loyal to their employers. As a result, the company can earn more profits, and it’s a win-win situation for everyone.
List of Cons of the Employee Free Choice Act
1. It allows unions to have control over elections.
Opposing proponents of the bill argue that not all employees want to be members of a union, and if a card check is implemented, they could be forced to become members. Also, workers will not always be informed about what the union is representing, so they are unaware until the union decides to reveal all the materials.
2. It depletes competition in the market.
The EFCA can take away the motivation for employees to work hard and remain competitive, so productivity and innovation are affected. This affects the level of service and the quality of products, resulting in the loss of competitiveness in the market, and weakness of the economy.
3. It is anti-employers.
Those against card-check bill argue that the penalty of three times the amount of the back of an employee who is unlawfully fired is too heavy for companies. Also, the power and freedom that labor unions can gain with the passing of the EFCA bill could lead to more demands and more lawsuits. If employers will suffer from a lot of lawsuits and demands, this can result in huge losses and possible closure of businesses. All of this can turn off investors, and weaken the economy.
So, do you think the EFCA legislation will do more good or harm for employees, the economy, and the United States as a whole?