The LA Times opined yesterday its support for certain aspects of the misnamed Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA). While we appreciate that the LA Times is troubled with the EFCA’s effective elimination of secret ballot union elections (as they should be) we are troubled that they feel that there may be ways to improve this section of the bill. We feel that secret ballots are the best way to protect workers from intimidation and coercion in the workplace.
The piece claims that the bill’s binding arbitration provisions are an “appropriate” aspect of the bill. They further claim that this aspect simply would “ fine-tune the arbitrator’s role” and that “rule makers ought to consider imposing either side’s last, best offer as a way to encourage both sides to be more realistic in their offers and make negotiations more productive.” In practice this provision would fundamentally alter the collective bargaining process, as both parties would prepare for this inevitability by effectively positioning themselves rather than negotiating in good faith.
This part of the bill is backdoor to government wage mandates, that remove the ability of employers to make key economic decisions that are in the best interest of his business and employees. Proponents often underestimate the impact of this part of the bill, but in reality if the parties engage in collective bargaining can’t reach agreement by unusual fast 120 day period, they’d be forced to have a Federal arbitrator set the binding terms of wages, benefits and work rules.
Under this provision, arbitrators wouldn’t be simply working out the details of the agreement between the parties, they’d be actually writing the terms themselves. The bill doesn’t make it clear how appeals could be made under this language so it could create an environment where businesses would like become less competitive. So what’s the impact? Jobs. Hundreds of thousands of them.
Despite the Times’ proposal to change this legislation, we remain firmly committed to defeating this bill – or any related legislation in any form. Passing the EFCA at any time would be grossly irresponsible.