An hour before President Obama appeared at the AFL-CIO convention last week to reaffirm his support for the EFCA, Arlen Specter told hundreds of cheering union officials that by year’s end Congress would pass labor law legislation that “will be totally satisfactory to labor.” Following his speech, Specter stated that he had been working on the package with other Senate Democrats, and went on to outline its major components:
- Dropping the Card Check provision and replacing it with short election time frames;
- Giving union organizers equal access to workplaces if an employer wants to hold a mandatory meeting to discuss union issues on company time; and
- Imposing forced government arbitration if parties do not reach a contract within 120 days, but using the “last best offer” model in which arbitrators pick between the two final positions of the union and the employer.
The bill sharply limits the time between the organizers’ declaration that they have enough support to call an election and the day of the vote, making it imperative that employers have in place a plan for an effective and legal campaign against unionization. In fact, labor lawyer James Stone of Jackson Lewis recently suggested at a seminar on the issue that employers should engage in a full-time, low grade campaign.
As we have written in the past, employers are not entirely helpless. There are many strategies that can promote an employee-friendly (i.e. union-free) workplace including: open communication, well-trained supervisors, an open door policy, and familiarity with the rights of employers when faced with an organizing effort.
Please let us know if we can help your company remain employee-friendly/union-free.