11/13/2008

The Employee Free Choice Act: Training Session

ATTENTION
You are invited to a training session on the Employee
Free Choice Act on Thursday, November 13, 2008,
from 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. at Taft’s Cincinnati office. 
See details at the end of this bulletin.


Organized labor spent millions on the November 4, 2008 election for one purpose, to ensure the passage of the Employee Free Choice Act (“EFCA”).  The SEIU alone spent over $100 million on candidates who support EFCA.  Barack Obama was a sponsor of EFCA in the Senate.  Now that the election is over, the unions will focus their efforts on collecting authorization cards from the employees of unsuspecting employers. 

If EFCA passes, unions will attempt to use these cards to claim representational status and, under EFCA, avoid a secret ballot election.  In other words, it will be too late for the employer to do anything.  Under EFCA (as currently drafted), the employer’s opportunity to campaign against a union after receiving a petition for election will be gone.  Once the union has collected cards from more than half the employees, the employer will be forced to bargain with the union unless it can prove illegal coercion.

Passage of EFCA  will significantly change labor relations in this country, and will completely re-energize the union movement.   But there are things employers can and should be doing now, in addition to talking to their legislators about the pitfalls of the proposed Act. 

Unions are gearing up for the battle and so must employers.  Train supervisors and managers on the warning signs of union activity.  Audit your current practices.  Make sure wages and fringe benefits are competitive.  Make sure policies are consistently enforced.  Create an open and positive environment where employees are comfortable talking to management.  Consider educating employees about what a union authorization card means, and the rights  employees may waive by signing these cards.  Many employees sign cards without realizing that they are authorizing the union to represent them, or simply to get a co-worker off their back. 

Remember that cards are often signed before you have any inkling that a union is already talking to employees.  Waiting until after you learn a union is present may be too late.  Health care, financial services, and other service industries are some of the prime targets for unions.  But unions will target any employer with employees from whom they think they can collect dues.  And keep in mind that even unionized employers may be targets of additional organizing efforts by unions of their clerical or other non unionized employees.

Taft has provided union avoidance training and other proactive labor and employee relations guidance for companies for over 60 years.  We are currently providing advice and assistance to employers preparing to deal with EFCA.  It is not too early to address these issues. 

Training session will be held at:
    Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP
    425 Walnut Street, Suite 1800
    Cincinnati, OH  45202
Registration begins at 8:00 a.m. on the 16th floor

Register early.  Because of space constraints, attendance is limited to the first 50 persons who register.

Please RSVP via telephone or e-mail to Sue Schmid:  513.381.2838 (phone) or
schmid@taftlaw.com

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