Topics in Labor Laws
April 1, 2013
The Epmloyee Free Choice Act has been a hot topic within the past few years. It has been pushed through congress several times, with hopes to change the way unions get organized. Within the next few pages, this paper will describe what a union is and how it is started, what the Employee Free Choice Act entails, how it will change our system, and the arguements for and against passing this bill. The EFCA is a system that will protect employee rights and break the bad habit of unfair union elections that our legal system has allowed throughout the years. A union is an organized group of workers who band together for mutual aid and protection, collective bargaining, and safe working conditions. There are several steps to follow when starting a union. The first step in starting a union would be to gather a small committee of employees that are enthusiastic about the idea of starting a union. While starting this committee it is crucial that you keep the process on the down low; the longer it takes for management to find out, the least amount of time they have to try and sabotage your attempt.
Next, you must choose whether you want to be affiliated with a large international union, or start an independent union. Independent unions are protected the same by labor laws just as if it were a largely known international union. When making this decision, it is important to muster up information and get ideas on how to properly organize and what resources are best to use. After a union is chosen, you must determine the bargaining unit. Determining a bargaining unit is basically stating who will and who will not be able to join the union. Once a bargaining unit is decided, it is determined by the National Labor Relations Bureau. During this process employees must sign union authorization cards. An authorization card is a system used to show that the employee who signs it wants to be represented by the union during negotiations about wages, benefits, and working conditions. In order for the card to be validated, it must be signed and dated. These cards are confidential and will not be seen by the employer. At least one third of the employees in the bargaining unit must sign the authorization cards to be granted an election for the certification of the union by the NLRB. A formal letter is then written to management to inform them of your request to have the union recognized. After the submission of the authorization cards, the NLRB will schedule a hearing to determine the bargaining unit. If the bargaining unit is made final, the NLRB will schedule to hold a secret ballot election. A secret ballot is an election held to ratify the number of employees who vote "yes" to have a union represent them during contract negotiations. Once the union is recognized, the employer must engage in contract negotiations regarding wages, benefits, and working conditions. Although it may sound simple and easy to start a union, there are many bumps and blocks throughout this process, usually because the employer is not willing to cooperate and refuses to recognize the union. A reform, called the Employee Free Choice Act, was created to ease the process and reduce blockage created by uncooperative employers.
The EFCA, is a reform that helps protect employee rights to band together in a union and bargain collectively with their employer during contract negotiations. The act is meant to restore and maintain a balance within the union election process. It gives employees the choice to organize a union through a majority sign-up process, and eliminate the intimidation factor imposed on employees when entering a secret ballot.
This system is simple. We raise penlties when the law is violated and when two parties cannot come to an agreement within the set time period both sides agreed on, mediation and arbitration options are introduced.
Over the years, it has shown that...