LEGISLATIVE BULLETIN (SPECIAL FEDERAL EDITION): The Employee Free Choice Act: Improving Employee Rights at Work, Improving Employee Livelihood
By Dr. Stephen Jackson
Policy Analyst, NC Budget & Tax Center
Nov. 19, 2009
- PASSAGE OF THE FEDERAL EMPLOYEE FREE CHOICE ACT will make the union
recognition process fairer by giving workers the right to choose the method by which
they form a union. At present, an employer can demand a secret-ballot election even
after a majority of employees have signed union recognition forms. This option enables
an employer time and opportunity to conduct an extensive anti-union campaign at the
workplace during work hours utilizing legal and illegal tactics.
- UNDER THE PROPOSED CHANGES, a majority of employees would be able to express
their desire to unionize by majority sign-up. A secret ballot option remains if at least onethird
of employees choose it.
- IN ADDITION, the sanctions for illegal employer behavior, such as firing employees who
support unionization, would be significantly increased. Nation-wide in 2007 alone, there
were 29,000 documented cases of intimidation or coersion by employers during secret
ballot election campaigns. Compare the 42 cases by unions in the previous 70 years.
- UNION MEMBERSHIP IS ASSOCIATED WITH HIGHER WAGES and a greater likelihood
that employees will receive health care, retirement, paid leave and disability benefits.
- MAKING THE UNION RECOGNITION PROCESS FAIRER will enable workers to bargain for
higher wages and higher access to benefits.