Capitol Hill

"Card check" battle rages

In March, the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), also known as "card check" legislation, was reintroduced in the 111th Congress. If enacted, EFCA would implement the most sweeping changes in U.S. labor law in 75 years, and it is organized labor's highest legislative priority.

EFCA would effectively eliminate federally supervised secret-ballot elections for union organizing by allowing a union to be formed when a majority of workers sign (or "check") authorization cards. The bill also would mandate binding arbitration if an employer and a union cannot agree on a contract within 120 days, which would result in government officials imposing the contract terms on both sides.

NRCA strongly opposes EFCA. The business community believes the right to a secret-ballot election is a cornerstone of democracy that must be preserved. And NRCA believes binding arbitration would be devastating to businesses because it would create enormous uncertainties and greatly diminish the control employers have over their operations. It also would deny workers the right to vote on a contract imposed by government officials.

Major gains by Democrats in the 2008 elections and Barack Obama's presidency—both strongly backed by organized labor—put EFCA supporters within striking distance of garnering the votes needed in Congress to approve the bill.