Created in 2009, the Employee Free Choice Act was designed to help employees have an easier time forming a labor union if desired. Many employers actively campaign against having employees unionize because they fear the higher costs, the potential of production losses, and difficulty in placing good people into needed positions.
Although this idea seems good on the surface to many, there may also be some disadvantages that must be considered with this particular piece of legislation.
What Are the Pros of the EFCA?
1. It protects workers from poor labor practices.
Labor unions can quickly form to protect worker rights and unsafe working conditions. This also means that employees have a better method of bringing grievances to light or even taking them to court if necessary to create the changes that are required. Management isn’t hindered by this process either as it simply creates a formal method of procedures for employees to follow.
2. It could help to balance out the power between big business and big unions.
The problem with the modern political system is that everyone has access to huge pools of money – except the common worker, that is. The EFCA would help to give workers on the front lines more of a voice in their future because they’d be able to better pool their resources together to campaign for what they need. If nothing else, the power of numbers helps to provide employees with an added level of protection.
3. It creates a system that requires agreements be reached.
The EFCA would require that a binding agreement be reached within 120 days of a union becoming recognized. If employers refuse to make the effort to come to an agreement, then monetary penalties are implemented to bring the company into compliance. This forces the hand of unethical employers to do the right thing when it comes to protecting the workers they employ.
4. It would help to reduce the enforcement vacuum created by the removal of funding from the National Labor Relations Board.
Without staffing, the NLRB struggles to check on compliance issues from today’s corporations. This allows employers with questionable ethics to drive their employees into the ground and blackmail them into accepting it because of sometimes difficult employment conditions. It removes the “take it or leave it” attitude that has sometimes found itself present in the modern economy.
What Are the Cons of the EFCA?
1. It gives unions another bargaining chip.
If it becomes easier to form a union, then it gives unions another bargaining chip to affect the practices of corporations today. This means businesses are held accountable for their actions, but there is nothing in place to hold a union accountable for their actions in the process. In essence, some workers may feel forced to join a union in order to be properly represented and that’s bargaining power that is unethical at best.
2. It would require mandatory arbitration.
Arbitration can be a good thing because it saves money for everyone involved, but it can be a very bad thing because the arbitrator’s decisions are typically binding. There are very few ways to appeal a decision from an arbitrator and that can be harmful to both employers and unions.
3. It would give more power to ineffective unions, enhancing a problem that already exists.
Some unions do an excellent job of representing their workers to protect their best interests. There are other unions that are very ineffective and seem to make no effort in doing their jobs. The EFCA would give poor unions extra powers that would create a whole new set of problems for employees and businesses while they get to benefit from it.
4. It requires publicly signed union cards for organization.
The secret balloting process is over when it comes to the EFCA. Workers who wish to join the union would eliminate anonymous balloting and let employers know who wanted to unionize. If the balloting were to fail and employment was listed as “at will,” then there could be what amounts to legal retaliation against those workers. What’s worse is that signing a public card doesn’t mean an employee wants to unionize, yet it exposes a worker to pressures from both sides of the aisle.
The Employee Free Choice Act pros and cons show that there is the potential for good to happen, but there is some potential for harm as well. Supporting a union is a very personal decision and one that shouldn’t be taken lightly. The EFCA simply provides a more effective means and following through with that decision if necessary.