Since 2005, organized labor has been pushing a law with an Orwellian name- The Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA). Under current law, when a union wishes to organize a workforce or unit, employees have to sign a card indicating a willingness to do so. If enough signatures are obtained and confirmed by the NLRB, a union election is then held. According to statistics, the average time between certification of signatures and a union election was 37-38 days. That has since been changed, but more on that in a moment.
EFCA would effectively eliminate that election if a majority of the targeted workforce signed these cards. Furthermore, it would then start a 90-day clock for the union and the employer to sign an agreeable collective bargaining agreement and if one could not be achieved, the contract would go to mediation and then binding arbitration. The whole impetus behind the proposed law is to increase union membership quicker.
Organized labor put the law on the back burner after the 2010 midterm elections when the GOP gained control of the House. Instead, they have used the NLRB itself to effectuate a rule change called the “ambush election rule.” As stated above, the average time between certification of signatures and an actual vote on unionization was 38 days. That delay between signature and election was used by the NRLB to determine voter eligibility and appropriateness of the bargaining unit involved. The ambush election rule defers those decisions until after the actual election in most cases shortening the time from signatures to election to about 21 days.
Under the ambush election rule, both sides would have only three weeks to present their sides to employees. Under EFCA, there would be no campaign for either side if a majority of employees signed union cards. Those cards would effectively be the election. This is like saying because 2 million Democrats turned out in the primaries and 1.9 million Republicans in their primaries, no need for Election Day this year: the Democrat wins the Presidency.
In 2015, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders met with organized labor and tried to woo an endorsement from the AFL-CIO. According to reports at the time, Clinton touted the fact she co-sponsored EFCA in the Senate and would do everything in her power to get it passed if elected President. This fits neatly into her (and Sanders’) mistaken belief that unionization will drive up employee wages. To them the answer is simple and has two solutions: (1) an increase in the minimum wage to about $15/hour and (2) unionization.
Union membership has seriously declined in the United States. Today, about 11% of all workers are members of unions. In 1983, it was 20%. Most of that 11% is due to public worker unions since private sector union membership stands at 6.7%. It is this number that has organized labor worried since it decreases not only their political clout, but also their coffers. Because they cannot win over the hearts and minds of employees through a democratic process, then they resort to a time-honored Leftist strategy: change the rules. As an added incentive, dress up the changes in some Orwellian language using words like “free choice.”
After the ambush rule went into effect, case filings for union elections increased 15% with the average election held 25 days later. That provided both management and labor less than one month to present their sides of the situation and, more importantly, for workers to make an informed and important decision that will affect their livelihood. One election in Newark, New Jersey occurred a mere nine days after the petition was received by the NLRB.
Under the old system where the average wait time was 37-38 days, unions won 60% of the time. But in elections held in 21 days or less- with or without the ambush rule- unions won 86% of the time. Organized labor is not oblivious to these facts which is why they push EFCA and support the ambush rule. As does Hillary Clinton.
There is a world of difference between signing a card and an actual secret ballot which would be eliminated under EFCA. It is important to note that Clinton claims support for small businesses, but EFCA would actually hurt these businesses the most since they lack legal counsel to guide them through the procedures and elections. It would throw an additional cost and hurdle at the very businesses she and others claim they want to help.
While it may be true that non-union workers make 79 cents on the dollar compared to union workers overall, wages are not the only consideration in collective bargaining agreements. Most workers and potential union members often see only the dollar ramifications and little of these other considerations. In effect, EFCA would create a worker electorate of misinformed or uninformed voters. To organized labor, the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton in particular, that is what democracy has become.
This writer is dedicating this week where we celebrate labor- NOT UNIONS- to examine how organized labor is the most undemocratic, self-fulfilling fantasy ever foisted upon the American public. The Democratic Party is in the back pocket of organized labor as evidenced by union PAC donations that overwhelmingly favor Democratic candidates who bow before big labor unions. Read any political article regarding unions and you will invariably hear words like “coveted endorsement,” “has the backing of,” “the highly important or influential endorsement” when it comes to Democratic candidates and unions.
If there is to be an iota of democracy in the workplace, then EFCA must never see the light of day and the ambush rule must be reigned in or eliminated altogether. We saw what happened when people voted in a knee-jerk manner in the GOP primaries. Is that what we want in the workplace?