Breaking rank from other labor bosses, SEIU President Andy Stern and Secretary-Treasurer Anna Burger openly ponder possible alternative versions of the EFCA in an editorial board interview with the Washington Post. This is the first major national union to indicate willingness to “compromise” on their highest agenda item. Facing challenges in obtain support for the EFCA in its current form, Stern and Burger look to other versions of the bill that they speculate might get 60 votes in support of cloture.
In this piece, Stern contemplates possibly removing the “card check” provisions from the bill and replacing them with quickie elections that don’t allow employees to have a free flow of information with their employer when deciding whether or not to form a labor union. Labor hopes that by holding “fast elections,” organizers will still control the flow of information to employees by giving employers less time to educate their employees on the costs and benefits and downside of union membership, thus increasing the probability of unionization. Despite commitments on the campaign trail, organized labor is now coming to the realization the Obama administration has not placed passage of the EFCA as a high priority. Stern notes President Obama’s lack of engagement in their efforts to move the bill through Congress. Stern:
We respect that we have a job to do to line up enough votes without him.
Facing growing bipartisan opposition to the legislation in the Senate, we may see union leaders throw their support behind an amended version of the EFCA, but one which would still seek to create an imbalance in the union organizing process to favor labor unions over employees and their employers.