With the election of President Barak Obama and the House and Senate moving to the control of the Democrats many of the legislative initiatives of organized labor will come to the forefront in 2009. Of President Obamas first actions two were issues pushed by the Unions – the Fair Pay Act (Lilly Ledbetter Act) and the reinstatement by Executive Order of Project Labor Agreements (PLAs). Legislation is expected that would:
• Expand the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
• Require seven days sick leave (The Healthy Families Act)
• Require federal administrative and legal appeals for denied requests for changes in working conditions (Working Families Flexibility Act)
• Change the definition of Supervisor for collective bargaining purposes (RESPECT Act)
However the bill that has the garnered the most attention of AGC and the rest of the business community is the so called Employee Free Choice Act sometimes called the Card Check Bill. This legislation would allow unions to be recognized if a majority of the employees in a bargaining unit signed authorization cards (50 percent plus one) allowing the unions to waive the current National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) supervised secret ballot process.
The second element of the Act would force contract negotiations into binding arbitration if the employer fails to agree on a contract with the newly recognized union within 120 days from the beginning of negotiations. Finally the Act would impose stiffer penalties on employers but no on unions for Unfair Labor Practices (ULP) incurred during this process.
The Employee Free Choice Act is strongly opposed by the AGC. AGC of America is urging members to contact their representatives in DC and to urge members of the House and Senate to NOT cosponsor the bill and not support it should it come up for a vote. To easily do so go to the AGC of Americas Legislative Action Center. For more background on this and other labor issues visit AGC of Americas website here.