What Louisiana Election Results Mean for Employers

November 03, 2010 0 COMMENTS

by Mark Adams

At first glance, nothing significant came out of Louisiana’s midterm elections. There were no Tea Party candidates to create excitement. Republicans and Democrats each lost a U.S. House seat and won a seat they hadn’t controlled, so we didn’t contribute to the change of control in the House. However, the Republican takeover of the House and the Democrats’ loss of their super-majority in the U.S. Senate will have a significant impact on the Democrats’ legislative agenda. As President Barack Obama said Tuesday morning, “My whole agenda is at risk.”

I predicted from the beginning that the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) would not survive a Republican filibuster even with a Democrat super-majority. After today, EFCA, the Paycheck Fairness Act, and any compromise measures are dead and buried; probably along with the rest of the administration’s labor and employment agenda.

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NLRB Puts Out Feelers on Remote Electronic Voting

June 11, 2010 0 COMMENTS

It appears the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has started to lay the groundwork for off-site Internet elections for employees to determine whether they wish to be represented by a union. The first sign of this development was a Request for Information (RFI) published by the NLRB on June 9, 2010.

In the RFI, the NLRB seeks proposals from the information technology industry regarding the establishment of “secure electronic voting services,” which it describes to include telephone, Web-based, and/or on-site electronic voting. Specifically, the Board says it is “seeking industry solutions regarding the capacity, availability, methodology and interest of industry sources for procuring and implementing secure electronic voting services both for remote and on-site elections.” It appears the Board is looking for information regarding the feasibility, secrecy, observability, accountability, and auditability of electronic elections before implementing any sort of rulemaking process.

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Obama to Appoint Controversial NLRB Nominee Craig Becker

March 29, 2010 0 COMMENTS

On March 27, President Barack Obama announced his intent to use his constitutional power to make appointments while Congress is in recess to appoint Democrat Craig Becker to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). This is the first time the President has used recess appointments.

Becker, a union attorney, has been a controversial nominee since he was first nominated, and in February, Senate Republicans used a filibuster to block his nomination. The business community and Republicans have been strongly opposed to his nomination, mainly because he has become associated with the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), a bill that would make it much easier for employees to form labor unions. Employer groups and Republicans have suggested that if Becker were nominated to the NLRB, he and a Democratic majority on the Board could implement provisions of EFCA, even if Congress failed to pass the bill.

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Republicans Block Controversial NLRB Nominee Craig Becker

February 10, 2010 0 COMMENTS

On Tuesday, U.S. Senate Republicans (along with two Democrats) used a filibuster to block Craig Becker’s nomination to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). In a 52-33 vote, the Democrats fell short of the 60 votes needed to end the Senate debate on Becker’s nomination and move to a final vote. Senators Ben Nelson (D-Nebraska) and Blanche Lincoln (D-Arkansas) were the only Democrats to join the Republican filibuster.

In a public statement earlier in the week, Nelson announced that he would oppose Becker’s nomination and noted, “Mr. Becker’s previous statements strongly indicate that he would take an aggressive personal agenda to the NLRB, and that he would pursue a personal agenda there, rather than that of the Administration.”

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Specter Reveals Possible EFCA Compromise

September 16, 2009 4 COMMENTS

Senator Arlen Specter, the Republican-turned-Democrat from Pennsylvania, announced on Tuesday, September 15, 2009, at the AFL-CIO convention that he expects Congress to pass a version of the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) before the end of the year. He referenced a compromise of the controversial bill that he has been working on and added, “We have pounded out an employees’ choice bill which will meet labor’s objectives.” Specter added that he is confident the bill will receive the 60 votes in the Senate required to end a filibuster, even though he predicts no Republicans will vote for the bill’s passage.

After his speech, Specter reportedly revealed details of the possible compromise bill. According to him, the new version of EFCA won’t include the contentious card-check provision, which would have made it much easier for employees to form unions by allowing a majority of employees to unionize by signing card-check petitions. Under this provision, employers no longer would have been able to dispute the card-check process through a secret-ballot election if a majority of employees signed the petitions.

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Democrats Drop EFCA Card-Check Provision

July 17, 2009 1 COMMENTS

Democrats have reportedly agreed to drop the card-check provision of the controversial Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA). The card-check provision would have made it much easier for employees to form labor unions by allowing a majority of employees to unionize by signing card-check petitions. Under this provision, employers would no longer have been able to dispute the card-check process through a secret-ballot election if a majority of employees signed the petitions.

With the elimination of the card-check provision, several Senate and labor officials have noted that the revised bill could require shorter unionization campaigns and faster elections. For example, revisions to the bill could include a requirement that union elections be held within five or 10 days of 30 percent of employees signing cards indicating that they want a union. Legislators are supposedly also considering other options, including measures that would give unions more access to employers’ property and prohibit employers from requiring employees to attend “antiunion meetings.”

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Starbucks, Costco, and Whole Foods Propose Alternative to EFCA

March 23, 2009 0 COMMENTS

After forming an ad hoc committee called the “Committee for a Level Playing Field for Union Elections,” three U.S. retailer giants announced an alternative to the controversial Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA). Starbucks Corp., Costco Wholesale Corp., and Whole Foods Market, Inc., outlined six principles they believe represent a compromise between business and labor interests. According to Costco CEO Jim Sinegal, “Our proposal is not anti-union, and it’s not anti-business.”

The Employee Free Choice Act, a bill introduced in both houses of Congress on March 10, 2009, contains two particular provisions that have raised an onslaught of contention between the labor and business communities.

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SEIU, Nurses Union Boost the Employee Free Choice Act

March 19, 2009 0 COMMENTS

Two large and powerful health care labor unions have signed a pact that is expected to provide a shot in the arm for the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA).

Under the pact announced on March 19, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee (CAN/NNOC) will work together to bring union representation to all nonunion registered nurses and other health care employees while stepping up efforts to enact the Employee Free Choice Act. The two groups are the largest unions in the nation representing health care workers and registered nurses, according to a statement from both organizations.

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Democrats Introduce the Employee Free Choice Act

March 10, 2009 0 COMMENTS

The Democrats blazed ahead into battle today (March 10) by introducing the much-anticipated Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) in both houses of Congress. EFCA, which has been the subject of countless debates, is a controversial bill that would allow a majority of employees to form a union by signing card-check petitions. Under the Employee Free Choice Act, employees could still choose to have a secret-ballot election, but employers would no longer be able to dispute the card-check process through such an election if a majority of employees signed card-check petitions.

Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Representative George Miller (D- California) held a press conference on the Employee Free Choice Act shortly after noon today following a Senate hearing on rebuilding our nation’s middle class by restoring Americans’ rights in the workplace.

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