In this election year, the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), also known as the Card Check bill, has been discussed in terms of its effect on worker secret ballots. The focus of this bill is to make it easier to remove obstacles to union organizing. EFCA is supported by many Democrats in Congress and President-Elect Obama. It is very likely the bill will become law early in 2009. In that case, the bill would become the most significant modification to federal labor law in the past forty years.
The first feature of the EFCA is that it seeks to eliminate an employer’s right to a secret ballot election before asking the employer to accept unionization of its workplace. Once the employers are presented with authorization cards signed by a majority of its employees, the act would require them to recognize a union.
The second important feature of the EFCA is that it allows either the employers or the employees to request mediation if they cannot reach an agreement on initial collective bargaining.
Last but not least, the EFCA would for the first time create substantial penalties for labor violations. These would apply during any period when unions are attempting to organize and during negotiations of a first contract.