Employee Free Choice Act — Better for Women and Minorities

Below is a summary of the Employee Free Choice Act (HR 1409/S560) and explains why EFCA is good for working families:

The Employee Free Choice Act (HR.1409 /S.560) was introduced for the 111th Congress in the Senate on March 10, 2009 by Representative George Miller (D-CA) and Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Here is a summary of the bill’s core provisions.

1.  Certification on the Basis of Signed Authorizations
Provides for certification of a union as the bargaining representative if the National Labor Relations Board finds that a majority of employees in an appropriate unit has signed authorizations designating the union as its bargaining representative.  Requires the Board to develop model authorization language and procedures for establishing the authenticity of signed authorizations.

2.  First Contract Mediation and Arbitration
Provides that if an employer and a union are engaged in bargaining for their first contract and are unable to reach agreement within 90 days, either party may refer the dispute to the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) for mediation.  If the FMCS has been unable to bring the parties to agreement after 30 days of mediation, the dispute will be referred to arbitration and the results of the arbitration shall be binding on the parties for two years.  Time limits may be extended by mutual agreement of the parties.

3. Stronger Penalties for Violations While Employees are Attempting to Organize or Obtain a First Contract
Makes the following new provisions applicable to violations of the National Labor Relations Act committed by employers against employees during any period while employees are attempting to organize a union or negotiate a first contract with the employer:

  • Mandatory Applications for Injunctions:  Provides that just as the NLRB is required to seek a federal court injunction against a union whenever there is reasonable cause to believe that the union has violated the secondary boycott prohibitions in the Act, the NLRB must seek a federal court injunction against an employer whenever there is reasonable cause to believe that the employer has discharged or discriminated against employees, threatened to discharge or discriminate against employees, or engaged in conduct that significantly interferes with employee rights during an organizing or first contract drive.  Authorizes the courts to grant temporary restraining orders or other appropriate injunctive relief.  

  • Treble Back Pay:  Increases the amount an employer is required to pay to three times the amount of the employee’s back pay when an employee is discharged or discriminated against during an organizing campaign or first contract drive. 

  • Civil Penalties:  Provides for civil fines of up to $20,000 per violation against employers found to have willfully or repeatedly violated employees’ rights during an organizing campaign or first contract drive.

 Contact your Representatives and encourage them to support EFCA today!

(summary information source:  American Rights at Work website)