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