The Employee Free Choice Act has been introduced in Congress, with plenty of vocal proponents and opponents.
The bill has two main elements:
- It would give workers the option of forming unions by getting a majority of workers to sign cards to join without having to hold a secret ballot election. (Current law leaves it up to employers to decide whether workers must hold an election or can organize via “card check.”)
- If employers and workers cannot reach a contract within 120 days, a government arbitrator intervenes and sets terms.
The possibility of many non-union businesses becoming unionized is real. So what can employer do? The best advice I’ve seen yet comes from Mark Mathison and Abigail Crouse of Gray Plant Moody in this article here. I’ve summarized their excellent suggestions:
- Adopt an Internal Position Statement on Unions and Labor Relations
- Conduct An Employee Issue and Satisfaction Audit
- Ensure that Communication Lines are Open and that Managers are Responsive to Employee Issues
- Review Employment Policies and Practices
Further, say Mathison & Crouse, it is important to audit for actual employment practice and policy enforcement within the organization because disparate enforcement adversely affecting unions or employees’ labor law rights can also be unfair labor practices with substantial negative impact in critical situations.