Q. Can you give me a rundown on the “card check” law everyone is so afraid will transform labor-
A. The Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) was introduced in the 111th Congress on March 10. If enacted, the measure would establish a “card check” procedure that would unionize a workforce when a majority of workers signed union authorization cards.
Under the legislation, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) would certify a union based on valid, signed union authorization cards from 50% plus one of the workers in an appropriate bargaining unit. The usual NLRB-supervised secret-ballot election would not occur.
The law would also change how first contracts are created. If management and the union fail to reach agreement after 120 days of collective bargaining and mediation, a federally appointed arbitrator would be selected to write the terms and conditions of employment. Those terms and conditions would be binding on the parties for two years.
Finally, the legislation imposes three new penalties for employer unfair labor practices during union organizing or while bargaining for an initial contract. Those penalties are:
- Liquidated damages equivalent to triple back pay for employees terminated in violation of the National Labor Relations Act
- Fines of $20,000 for each unfair labor practice
- Mandatory injunction proceedings under Section 10(l) of the act for campaign-related unfair labor practices.
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