Employee Free Choice Act Before Congress

Congress has before it bipartisan legislation that could change the way unions and union representation are formed. The Employee Free Choice Act, introduced by Senators Edward Kennedy and Arlen Specter and Representatives George Miller and Peter King, consists of three major points: certification of majority basis sign-up, first-contract mediation and arbitration and stronger penalties for violations against employees while union or first-contracts are being formed.
More specifically, the certification of majority basis sign-up would require the National Labor Relations Board to investigate any request for an employee union at a company to certify that the request is being made by a majority of employees in the appropriate unit and that they have signed authorization designating the union as a bargaining representative.
Additionally, the bill provides for either party (employer or union/bargaining representative) to refer first-contract disputes that go unsettled after 90 days to the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service; if after 30 days the dispute remains unsettled, it would be referred to arbitration and the results of the arbitration would be binding for two years.
Finally, the bill introduces stronger penalties against employers who violate the National Labor Relations Act while employees are attempting to form a union or negotiate a first contract. The penalties would include civil fines up to $20,000 per violation, increases to three times back pay the amount of an employer is required to pay when an employee is discharged or discriminated against during an organizing campaign or first-contract drive and the requirement that the NLRB seek a federal court injunction against an employer if there is reasonable cause to believe an employee's rights have been violated, if there has been a threat of violation of employee's rights or if conduct has interfered with employee rights during an organizing or first contract drive.

CLICK HERE for the AFL-CIO summary and on the Employee Free Choice Act.

CLICK HERE to discuss the bill and what it might mean for the glass industry on the USGNN message forum.

For other opinions and interpretations of the bill, visit:

Who's Afraid of the Employee Free Choice Act?

Employee Free Choice Act Restricts Privacy, Freedom

Act Limits Employer Meddling in Worker Choices

House Considers Bill Easing Union Organizing: Opponents Claim Measure Would Foster Coercion, Intimidation

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