Unionization—The “Card Check” Bill
The Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA)/“Card Check” Bill
Private sector union membership has decreased to single digits and unions have sought a Congressional fix that would boost their political influence and financial resources. Their proposed solution is the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), a measure which could limit the use of federally supervised secret ballot elections in union organizing campaigns. The bill could impose undue burdens on the collective bargaining process to the detriment of workers and businesses alike. Across industry sectors, small and large employers are extremely concerned about how the proposal could impact their strategic decision-making and economic viability.
NMHC/NAA strongly oppose the Employee Free Choice Act and urge Congress to reject the bill as an ill-conceived proposal that would disproportionately increase the political power of unions at considerable cost to employees and businesses during a sustained period of economic hardship and unemployment.
The EFCA is a long-standing union priority but concerns about the proposed legislation among Democratic moderates, particularly in the Senate, as well as concerns about the recovering economy halted progress on the bill during the 111th Congress. During the last Congress, the House passed the EFCA (H.R. 800) on March 1, 2007 in a 241-185 vote with 233 co-sponsors. Senator Scott Brown’s (R-MA) win in a special election to fill the late Senator Ted Kennedy’s seat dealt a significant blow to the bill because supporters lost their chance for a 60-vote majority capable of overcoming a Republican-led filibuster. It is extremely unlikely that the bill will be considered during the 112th Congress because Republicans now control the House of Representatives and Democrats, who maintain a majority in the Senate, lack the 60 votes needed to approve the bill.
Meanwhile, the NLRB is considering several regulatory measures that could impact labor organizing rules to the advantage of unions, including rules that govern petitions for secret ballot elections following card check votes, and notification requirements for employers.
Last Updated: January 2011
NMHC Legislative Alert
News summaries on "card check" legislation from NMHC's Update newsletter.
Resources for Practitioners
NMHC analysis of "card check" legislation, a guide to the National Labor Relations Act and more. Click here.