Jottings By An Employer's Lawyer

Thursday, August 14, 2008

George McGovern - A "No" on the EFCA

Yes it is that George McGovern, the Democratic Presidential candidate of 1972, who has come out with a prescient article in the WSJ extolling the dangers of the Employee Free Choice Act, My Party Should Respect Secret Union Ballots. One telling paragraph:

I worry that there has been too little discussion about EFCA's true ramifications, and I think much of the congressional support is based on a desire to give our friends among union leaders what they want. But part of being a good steward of democracy means telling our friends 'no' when they press for a course that in the long run may weaken labor and disrupt a tried and trusted method for conducting honest elections.

And as I, and a large number of commentators have been saying, one of the other provisions of the EFCA which would dramatically change the leverage on first contract bargaining, may do even more to upset the current balance of power between labor and business. Both provisions, replacing secret elections with card check and requiring binding interest arbitration if a first contract is not reached after 90 days of bargaining, are radical changes. Even if you think that they are needed, it should be a conscious decision, not just a political favor.

One of my greatest concerns about Congressional action is that as an institution it seems far out of touch with the realities of the workplace. And since it doesn't involve a tax increase, enacting employment and labor matters could be seen as a "free" way to pass on benefits to constituents. However, once enacted, employee rights will not be removed. (The last example I can think of is the Portal to Portal Pay Act of 1947). And if ill conceived legislation, truly disrupts the workplace, the cost is one that we will all bear. The EFCA is one piece of legislation that has that potential.

Hat tip to Laboring Away at the Institute for the link to the article.

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