Employee Free Choice Act pushed in Philly rally

    By: Tom MacDonald

    Organized labor’s effort to change the 1935 National Labor Relations Act has sparked a major struggle between unions and employers. Democrats in Congress say passing the Employee Free Choice Act, also known as EFCA, is one of their top priorities. The Act would let employees vote on whether to form a union through a controversial system known as “card check.” Unions hope it will help them gain ground lost over the years.

    By: Tom MacDonald
    tmacdonald@whyy.org

    Caption: AFL-CIO Secretary Treasurer Richard Trumka.

    Organized labor’s effort to change the 1935 National Labor Relations Act has sparked a major struggle between unions and employers. Democrats in Congress say passing the Employee Free Choice Act, also known as EFCA, is one of their top priorities. The Act would let employees vote on whether to form a union through a controversial system known as “card check.” WHYY’s Tom MacDonald reports that unions hope it will help them gain ground lost over the years.

    Transcript:
    Richard Trumka is Secretary Treasurer of the AFL-CIO. He says the Employee Free Choice Act would prevent business owners from trying to influence workers when they are thinking about whether or not to unionize.

    Trumka: “This is a 75-year-old law, and the world has changed dramatically in those 75 years. The current labor law system is broken because corporations routinely intimidate, harass, and fire people who try to organize unions and try to get a voice on the job.”

    If Congress passes the EFCA, employers would have to begin negotiations within 10 days of getting paperwork from a majority of workers who say they want to unionize. That scares Alan Dabrow, a labor attorney who represents employers.

    Dabrow: “I cannot imagine a greater recipe for disaster.”

    If bargaining fails, the case could go to arbitration 100 days after negotiations begin.

    Listen:
    Click on the play button below or right click on this link and choose “Save Link As” to download.

    [audio: reports20090226efca.mp3]

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