On Tuesday, March 10, 2009, the much anticipated and dreaded Employee Free Choice Act of 2009 (“EFCA”) was introduced both in the House of Representatives and the Senate. If enacted as drafted, the EFCA would be the single most radical change in federal labor law since 1935. It would require the National Labor Relations Board to certify a union as the exclusive representative of employees without a secret ballot election if a majority of the employees in an appropriate bargaining unit signed valid union authorization cards. In addition, the EFCA would require parties who cannot agree upon the terms of a first collective bargaining contract within 120 days to submit the issue to binding arbitration. The EFCA also provides for court-ordered injunctive relief to remedy employer violations, increased penalties of three times lost wages in employment termination cases and civil penalties of up to $20,000 for each violation.
Employers are encouraged to make their views on this legislation known to their Congressional representatives and advocacy groups.