Friday, March 20, 2009

Radical Changes of Employee Free Choice Act of 2009

The Employee Free Choice Act of 2009 is yet another controversial bill passed under the Obama Administration. This Act, when signed into law, would mean another victorious milestone for the employees.

The Act, otherwise known as the “card check”, would affect the employers in three major ways.

First, the Act eliminated voting by private balloting when organizing a union. The Act provides that if the majority of the employees authorized union organization, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) shall not direct an election but shall certify the individual or labor organization.

Second, the Act also touched on how negotiations are undertaken between the employer and a newly organized union. It required a binding arbitration in case of disagreement. The arbitration panel shall decide the case for not more than 2 years. No appeal is recognized.

Third, the Act provided greater penalty in case of discrimination. Currently, the National Labor Relations Act provides that employees who are terminated for unionism would be entitled to back pay and reinstatement.

However, under the proposed bill, the employee would be entitled to damages or an amount triple the back pay and the employer would be subject to civil penalties up to $20, 000.

With the provisions of the bill, employers certainly would not take it sitting down. Employers, however, are urged to be prepared for the potential passage and effect of this bill.