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Prepare Now For The Employee Free Choice Act

Published by on December 23, 2008

A column in the December 2008 issue of HR Magazine caught out attention recently.  The article was entitled “Get Prepared for New Employee Free Choice Act.”  As noted in other posts (here) the EFCA may become law after the new administration takes over in 2009.  If this does take place, the EFCA will dramatically change […]

A column in the December 2008 issue of HR Magazine caught out attention recently.  The article was entitled “Get Prepared for New Employee Free Choice Act.”  As noted in other posts (here) the EFCA may become law after the new administration takes over in 2009.  If this does take place, the EFCA will dramatically change the union recognition process.  More after the break.

The item in the article that caught our attention was a comment that unions may have already started seeking employees’ signatures on authorization cards in anticipation of the EFCA’s enactment.  Once signed, the union authorization cards are good for a year.  If unions have begun collecting cards already, employers may be presented immediately with a card majority and be forced to recognize a union under the EFCA. 

The article suggests that employers consider speaking to employees about the EFCA and the affect that signing cards might have on them.  This is a good idea.  Employers have traditionally started education campaigns about the drawbacks of a unionized workforce only after being presented with a petition.  Under the new EFCA regime, it will be too late to conduct any kind of employee education once a majority of employees have signed cards.  Even companies that have not traditionally considered unions to be an issue in their workforce should consider adding to their 2009 HR agenda employee education programs regarding unionization.  Employers who do not get ahead of the curve now may be faced with union recognition and mandatory arbitration of proposed collective bargaining agreements before they know what hits them.

UPDATE (12.24.2008):  The Pennsylvania Labor & Employment Blog has a post on union authorization cards here.

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