Avoid the EFCA Rat Trap

Geoff O’Hara of the United States Chamber offered a great post last week about the perceptions, realities, and tactics involved in the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA). Here it is in its entirety:

Just after 8:00 a.m. on a soggy morning in Providence, I was approaching the local Chamber of Commerce to participate in a briefing to small businesses on the Employee Free Choice Act when I saw it…a rat. And not just any rat. This was a HUGE rat.  Bigger than a grizzly bear! Right on the sidewalk in front of the building!

Fortunately for the musophobic crowd (if they’re even still reading this), this was not (a) live rat. It was a 15 foot high inflatable rat – serving as the anchor prop for a group of about 25 people protesting the seminar at which I was about to speak. According to one protestor – the rat symbolized anyone that was anti-union. And their ongoing chants — "What’s disgusting?…Union busting!" — echoed that sentiment.

I was certainly surprised to see that they even make rats that big (what other uses would it have?), but what surprised me even more was the disconnect between the protestors’ message, and the subject of this morning’s seminar.  The Employee Free Choice Act isn’t anti-union at all. And it doesn’t have anything to do with ‘union busting.’  Instead, it is legislation that would dramatically alter the process under which unions organize – essentially turning upside down decades of established labor law.

Employers would lose the opportunity to be part of a dialogue with employees about forming a union; would face binding arbitration on a new contract within a short timeframe; and would be subject to stiff one-sided new penalties for any violations.

Employees would lose access to a secret ballot when deciding whether or not to unionize, and could be subject to coercion and strong arm tactics from union organizers.

Employers lose, employees lose . . . the only group that stands to gain under the Employee Free Choice Act is the union organizers themselves.

Hmm . . . I smell a rat.