The bitter fight over the Employee Free Choice Act and its controversial union card check provision may be coming to a head soon, but with compromises. Labor/employment attorneys John E. Lyncheski and W. Scott Hardy, of the Pittsburgh-based law firm Cohen & Grigsby, told their ACHCA audience that Congressional politics are shaping up for a vote soon. Newly coined Democratic Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania is leading an effort to gain the votes of all the Democratic Senators to produce a bill that the House of Representatives will likely approve and President Obama will sign.
The compromise under review would eliminate the card check provision allowing union organizers to unionize a facility on the basis of signed cards rather than a secret ballot. Employer groups have focused on blocking card check as coercive and unfair to employees. On the other hand, the compromise could include tough penalties of as much as $20,000 per fair practices violation, Lyncheski said. Moreover, union elections could be called with as little as five days notice and mandatory arbitration, if necessary, would be postponed for a year or more, giving unions more time to organize. Unions would also be given the right to intercede in so-called “captive audience” information sessions conducted by employers.
Lyncheski said Senator Specter is attempting to “placate” seven Democrats who have problems with the current legislation to gain the necessary votes for adoption by the Senate. He suggested that ACHCA attendees visit the Senator’s web site for the details. Lyncheski added that it isn’t too late for administrators and owner/operators to contact their legislators in Washington to stop enactment.
|Audio interview: John Lynchseski lays out the basics of card check with Long-Term Living Consulting Editor Richard L. Peck.|