Labor Pains: Because Being in a Union can be Painful

Current State of EFCA

The Press-Enterprise of Riverside, CA ran an article summarizing the current state of EFCA over the weekend. The most recent reports indicate that a compromise would drop card check, but may include other provisions that would speed up elections and give union organizers more access to company property and employees.

Binding arbitration continues to remain in the mix. A law professor and former labor board member actually commented for the story that proposals for binding arbitration would bring in an arbitrator too soon:

The arbitration clause infuriates many business leaders. John Raudabaugh, a Northwestern University law professor and a labor board member from 1991 to 1994, said under the proposed law, an arbitrator would be brought in way too soon. It may take 120 days just to get company and labor officials comfortable enough to have a productive conversation.

“If it truly is a first contract, it will be a new experience all the way around,” Raudabaugh said. “It simply takes longer than 120 days.”

But under the current terms of EFCA, if a company and union cannot reach first contract within 120 days, an arbitrator will be brought in to determine the terms. Raudabaugh’s comment validates criticism against binding arbitration.

The article also notes that there has been tepid support from Democrats in Congress and the White House:

Also, [UCLA professor Daniel] Mitchell said that President Obama has promised to sign the measure but the support “is pretty passive.” Obama has not spoken out in favor of it.

“If you can’t get Dianne Feinstein, then you have to look at how it was written,” Mitchell said.

The lukewarm response from both the White House and key Democrats like Senator Dianne Feinstein, generally regarded as a more centrist Democrat than her peers, may be attributed to labor overreaching:

[Tom] Lenz, a former staff lawyer for the labor board’s Los Angeles office, said the bill proposed in March was very broad.

“I think labor did overreach,” Lenz said. “They have an ambitious agenda and an aggressive PR approach. But they perhaps erred in gauging the support among Democrats for secret-ballot elections.”

Categories: Center for Union FactsEFACEnding Secret BallotsNews