Sample Strengths and Weaknesses of the Employee Free Choice Act

Strengths and Weaknesses of the Employee Free Choice Act

Introduction

The ‘Employee Free Choice Act’ is considered as a dramatic move to shape the America labor law that has been operational for a long time. In the recent times, the Democrats representatives in both legislative assemblies have been on the forefront of supporting the EFCA act. Based on their opinion, the supporters of this act believe that it will redefine the manner in which workers, employers, and trade unions will interrelate with each other. However, common American citizens do not critically understand the intentions of the act as many believe it is specific for demeaning ballot elections. On the contrary, this is not the solitary objective of the act, but only a section provides for this articulation. The rationale behind the act is to replace the conventional secret ballot that has been used for conducting elections with a more dynamic card check system. Further, the act sets to abolish the power for collective bargaining from the jurisdiction of the trade unions and the employers, but accord a governmental agency this responsibility. Here, the agency is required to institute a two-year contract for employees and establish a standard penalty for workers joining trade unions. Similarly, if the act is ratified, it will establish some problems to the small and medium sized organization that do not have the capacity to elect representatives in the negotiations (Getman, 2010).  This is because complete legalization of the EFCA act would alter the ‘National Labor Relations Act’ (NRLA). Conversely, small business enterprises play a major role in developing the US economy. Firstly, they offer plenty of opportunities to the citizens who in turn develop the economy. Secondly, under favorable conditions, the small businesses can grow rapidly to become big companies in the future. Therefore, implementation of the EFCA act is a major blow to development of small businesses, especially during difficult financial times (Getman, 2010).  Similarly, the act ought to be implemented to improve the United States labor laws that have constraints the rights of workers to establish their own trade union. This paper will provide the strengths and weaknesses of enacting the legislation to the US economy.

Background

The United States has seen an increase in race based indictments with 2007 recording about 37%. In addition, the enforcement data indicates an increase in charges of different pieces of legislations. Based on the proposed EFCA act, most HR managers and corporate organizations have worried about its consequential implementation (Yates, 2009). The point of contentions for the managers is enshrined on the basis that the role of managers is to advance the interest of the corporations at the expense of workers. This implies that some organizations do not consider the implication of their legislations to the employees. However, the labor laws require that human resource managers should create a workplace that is devoid of harassment and intimidation (Yates, 2009). The problem facing workers in the US cannot be solemnly blamed to the HR department, but it is a failure in the business law system that does not provide a conducive environment for the EFCA implementation. However, if the legislation is completely implemented, it is likely that it will provide various implications. There is a looming collision between the HR department and the employers regarding a possible violation of the workers’ rights. It is evident that employers have used workers ignorance to violate their rights at the workplace. As such, it is important to have a clear understanding of the workers’ rights to streamline the American business. Therefore, the EFCA is an ideal strategy to ensure that workers are informed about their rights. On the contrary, the act has highly been politicized with either part supporting their sides. In this regard, providing the strengths and weaknesses of the act will assist the legislation of the act.

Strengths and weaknesses of the act

            Trade unions have an integral role to play in achieving workers equity and foster the community strength. Denying the workers rights to voice their concerns at the workplace restricts the work standards. In such advanced situations, workers keep on hooping from one job to the other. Sometimes, employees opt for low paying jobs with a better workplace environment instead of a high paying job that has severe work environment. The essence of a good work environment is to unite the voice of workers. As such, the trade unions have a significant role to promote the middle class and spur development among the citizens. In this case, a business environment that empowers its trade union is likely to establish a society that experiences low poverty indices, crime, and poor schools. Secondly, powerful trade unions will compel the employers to give a fair remuneration to the workers. This is achieved through a solid negotiation process that is provided by the power of a consolidated trade union. The United States business community is set to benefit from perennial wage inequalities. Based on these advantages provided by a strong trade union, it is important to implement the EFCA. This act is aimed at ensuring that workers negotiate with the employers with a much consolidated and stronger voice that makes the negotiation process more significant. However, the challenge to this achievement is provided by an employer culture that does not allow workers to unite and establish unions with their fellow colleagues. On the other hand, the American business community is developed on the thought of “us vs. them” which is an employer strategy to handle the employees.  Therefore, the EFCA is the right piece of legislation that will empower the employees and promote economic development in the United States.

Largely, there has been an outcry that employers have been unyielding to the demands of the employees.  This had led to the need to form unions that have the powers to influence the employers to listen to the grievances of the workers.  The Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), which was introduced in 2009, was intended to change the labor laws with the creation of a system where employees form or join unions that would protect their rights (Lewin et al., 2011).  Upon certification, the act provided for the union a right to negotiate on behalf of its member employees through card check.  This would happen when a majority of the workers under an employer gave their signatures.  With these signatures, the employer had no right to a ballot.  Secondly, the act would have mandated the union and the employers settle on two-year binding agreement within 130 days after the union is recognized (Lewin et al., 2011).  Failure to agree would be met with compulsory demands and limitations imposed to the two parties.  Lastly, stringent measures would be imposed on employers who picked unfairly on employees who were actively involved in union affairs (Lewin et al., 2011).  This paper seeks to establish the strengths and weakness of the EFCA.

The current market problems that have been pointed out by unions would have benefited from several strengths embodied in the EFCA.  One of these strengths is the bringing of the employees together in unions.  Unions give strength and a voice to people all around the world.  In most jobs, some workers cannot air their views on their welfare.  For instance, it has been observed that several communities in America have been short-changed by exchanging their well paying jobs with those that are paid less (Getman, 2010).  There is therefore the need for the freedom of all workers to unite and have a voice at the workplace.  This freedom could be realized through the enactment of the EFCA.  By establishing a framework under which they could unite as workers, the EFCA would give them the strength to fight for improved equality and a better working environment.

The other strength that can be observed in the EFCA is the giving of union power to negotiate for better pay for the workers.  Better wages ultimately mean better livelihood for the people.  According to most researches done, the formation of large unions in most industries has led to a rise in the wages of the workers even beyond the union members (Getman, 2010).  Therefore, the bill would have given the union power to better their livelihoods of the workers through better pay.  In addition, this push for pay increase across the board would mean increased equality in wages.  The wages for the low-income earners would be elevated and averaged across the board.  This is particularly important because, if a majority of the people in a community receives good pay, then the levels of crime and poverty would ultimately go down.  This implies that the general economic situation for the people would be improved.

The other strength of the EFCA is the protection of the employees who are active members of a union.  There is a high likelihood that if an employer knows of the participation of an employee in union campaigns against the company would lead to detrimental actions being taken against the employee.  With such protection to the employee, there will be improved freedom of to the employee.  The protection of the employee is very essential.

However, there are weaknesses in the Employee Free Choice Act that make it unsuitable.  One of these weaknesses is in its infringement in the workers’ freedom.  Through the card-check scheme, the EFCA will have denied the members a right, enshrined in the First Amendment, a freedom of political association (Yates, 2009).  The members may be secretly persuaded to support a course by the union to which they do not subscribe.  The secret ballot system would have prevented this because members would have had the discretion to make their own decisions concerning the issues fronted by the union.  The other loophole evident in the act is the restrictions it imposes on the members and non-members of the union. The members fund the activities of the union (Yates, 2009).  The burden of funding the union’s activities by the members will be unfavorable because of the intensiveness of the exercise.  In addition, individual members will not have their side represented adequately.  This burden would also be forced on the non-members because the act does not allow them to joyride on the benefits of union freely.  At the end of the day, in an effort to front the needs of the workers, the union will eat into the workers pay and dilute their specific grievances.  While the EFCA act offers to protect the employees from the rebuttal from the employers, their relationship will be strained and be made unhealthy.  This will be due to the involvement in union campaigns that, according to the employer, antagonize the company’s objectives.  A poor work relationship can be detrimental to the overall intended growth of the economy.

In conclusion, the possible changes in the labor laws by the Employee Free Choice Act may ultimately change the labor market significantly.  Among the strengths evident in the act is the empowerment of workers through the formation of unions that will be instrumental in fighting for them.  In addition, the act will see an increase in workers’ pay and improved equity through negotiations done by the unions.  This will eventually result in improved livelihoods.  The act will also protect the employees from disfavor that may result from their participation in union activities.  On the other hand, the weaknesses are in its contradiction with the constitution.  The main weakness is in the interference in the workers’ freedom of association.  The act also denies the members their right to ballot voting that allows them independent decision-making.  Finally, it jeopardizes the relationship between the employer and the employees.  However, consultation and amendment of the act can lead to an improvement of the bill.

 

 

 

References

Getman, J. G. (2010).  Restoring the power of unions: It takes a movement.  New Haven [Conn.]: Yale University Press.

Lewin, D., Kaufman, B. E., & Gollan, P. J. (2011).  Advances in industrial and labor relations.  Bingley, U.K.: Emerald.

Yates, M. (2009).  Why unions matter.  New York: Monthly Review Press.