William Samuel, Government Affairs Director of the AFL-CIO, said he is certain that organized labor's top priority, the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), that would make it much easier for unions to organize businesses both large and small, will pass Congress and be signed by President Elect Barack Obama within the first 100 days of the new administration. Samuel also said that the more than $300 million spent by labor unions to educate workers was crucial to the Democrats' success in key battleground states. Obama was a co-sponsor of last year's version of the bill and has vowed to sign it when the incoming Congress finally passes it.
The unions are also tying passage of the EFCA Bill with better health care, pension benefits and job security. The legislation also would impose the toughest unfair dismissal laws the country has ever seen, including a $20,000 fine for each violation and compensation for wrongly fired workers at three times the value of lost wages and entitlements.
American Rights at Work, a union backed organization whose founder is David Bonior, a former Michigan congressman and one of Obama's economic advisers, launched a national ad campaign Sunday calling for the legislation. This is absolutely a game changer.
President Elect Obama has been reportedly looking for a labor leader for the Labor Secretary position. Andrew Stern has already stated he is not interested. Union leaders are pushing hard for an insider to fill this spot.
Last year, HR 800 (EFCA) passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 241-185, with only 2 of 230 Democrats opposing it. In the Senate, the vote was 51-48, well short of the 60 votes needed to trump a filibuster. Every Democrat, including Obama, voted in favor. Union leaders say 2009 will be different.
As Senator Edward Kennedy told the Senate last year, Democrats would bring back card check "again and again until we prevail". Kennedy said, "I guarantee this… We get a Democrat in the White House and the Employee Free Choice Act will be the law of the land.
At a conference this year, SEIU President Andrew Stern predicted the effect of passage of the EFCA on union membership would be great. Stern stated “unions would grow by 60 million members in the first 10 years, increases that would fortify union finances”. Other union leaders predict that number would be reached much faster.
With victory achieved, the unions expect Obama to deliver on his card check promise. "The Employee Free Choice Act is our number one legislative priority for next year… It was the centerpiece of our electoral efforts... We are very confident that it will happen." stated AFL-CIO chief economist Thea Lee immediately after the election.
Don’t wait till the unions are meeting with your employees, start taking measures to protect your company now. Permanent Solutions Labor Consultants offers many Management Training classes to ensure that your organization will remain union free. It is important that you and your management staff be proactive. The best way to keep a union out of your facility is to stop the “crash” before impact. Call us today to find out how.