EFCA Supporters Head For The Hills

Katie Gage
October 25, 2010

As we approach Election Day, it’s worthwhile to reflect on what has taken place over the course of the last two years. In November 2008, Big Labor was licking its chops anticipating passage of arguably the most significant change in labor law in American history. The bail out to union bosses known as the Employee ‘Forced’ Choice Act (EFCA) was imminent after Big Labor dropped nearly half a billion dollars getting the current administration and Congressional leadership elected.

Yet, today, President Obama and labor bosses have lost support on their forced unionization agenda both with the electorate and in Congress. Small businesses have stood up and made their voices heard and the American people have echoed their concerns.

Take West Virginia, for example. Just days ago, Governor Joe Manchin, who is running for the U.S. Senate stated that he didn’t support EFCA, relenting after fierce pressure from job creators. He stated his opposition to both the card check and mandatory, binding arbitration provisions within the legislation. This comes after Manchin received the endorsement of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) and publicly stated his support for EFCA, even signing a letter to Senate leadership. His most recent statements continue a bandwagon effect where candidates across the country are running away from union bosses.

In Colorado, after months and months of silence on his stance concerning the Employee ‘Forced’ Choice Act, Senator Michael Bennet finally stated he would not support the legislation. The Workforce Fairness Institute continues to put pressure on Bennet to solidify this stance by joining with other Colorado candidates who oppose EFCA’s specific provisions and put it in writing.

But why has there been this sudden trend of candidates publicly opposing EFCA? One look at the bill’s components and it’s not difficult to understand. Since its introduction into this Congress, the Employee ‘Forced’ Choice Act has been pushed as Big Labor’s number one priority, as it would increase unionization and put more dues into union boss coffers. But the damaging effects of this bill far outweigh any so-called benefits labor bosses are claiming.

First, EFCA would remove workers’ right to a secret ballot vote – what Manchin called “the most precious thing you own.” Secondly, it removes the right of workers to vote on contracts empowering government bureaucrats to force terms on employees and employers alike. And lastly, an economic study revealed that EFCA would lead to a loss of 600,000 jobs in the first year it is enacted. With unemployment hovering near ten percent, the last thing the country needs is a bill that will cost even more jobs.

These realities have hit home with voters. And the opposition from previous EFCA supporters isn’t exclusive to the Senate. Candidates for the U.S. House are also planting a firm foot in support of workers and against Big Labor. For instance, Representative Ron Klein, who not only voted for EFCA in 2007 but signed on as a co-sponsor in 2009, announced his opposition. His reason? Like so many new EFCA opponents, Klein has become a newfound, ardent supporter of the secret ballot.

With so many candidates coming clean to voters hours and days in advance of Election Day, the dynamics of the debate have certainly changed quite a bit. And while small businesses can take nothing for granted, we certainly have come a long way over the last two years.

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AZ Daily Sun--Coconino Voices: PRO Act legislation would hurt local businesses

— 05.13.2021 —
By: Julie Pastrik Arizona businesses and workers have had an incredibly challenging year given the economic slowdown that followed in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. However, local businesses and industries across the state are resilient and on the road to a strong recovery that will mean more jobs for Arizona workers and increased economic development to strengthen our communities. That is, as long as Congress does not move forward with potentially devastating legislation that would hurt local employers and employees alike while impeding our state’s economic recovery. Unfortunately, some members of Congress seem determined to do just that by pushing through the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act. As harmless as the name may sound, the PRO Act would have serious repercussions for local businesses, particularly smaller ones, while undermining long-standing rights for employees and threatening the growing gig economy that has helped provide much-needed income for so many during this time. Arizona is fortunate to have leaders like Senators Mark Kelly and Kyrsten Sinema, who have both refrained from joining the vast majority of their Democratic colleagues in cosponsoring the PRO Act. In a slap in the face to Arizona workers, the PRO Act removes one of the most fundamental rights a worker has when it comes to voting in elections to determine whether to unionize: the secret ballot. Instead, workers could be forced to sign union authorization cards in front of other employees, their employer, or union organizers. This bill would also destroy workers’ right to privacy by allowing unions access to personal information, including their home address and personal phone number. If that doesn’t open the door to union intimidation and harassment, I don’t know what does. As if that was not bad enough, the PRO Act would create major new challenges for Arizona businesses, making it harder for them to create jobs, expand in their communities, and even keep their doors open. It would redefine what it means to be a “joint employer” under national labor law, greatly complicating existing relationships between franchisors and franchisees as well as between business owners, contractors, subcontractors, and vendors and suppliers. At the same time, it would interfere with attorney-client confidentiality and make it much more difficult for small businesses to secure a legal advice on labor issues. Particularly harmful during these times, the PRO Act would apply a failed policy from California to national labor law by using the “ABC” test to determine whether a worker is an independent contractor or employee. This makes it much harder to qualify as an independent contractor, threatening the freedom and flexibility that tens of thousands of Arizonans find in independent contracting and gig economy work. Ultimately, the PRO Act is bad public policy that only works for union leaders to inflate their falling ranks while threatening workers’ rights, undermining small businesses, and jeopardizing a growing part of our economy. This is not a good solution for Arizona, and Senators Sinema and Kelly should stay firm and not cosponsor this misguided legislation.
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