Senior House, Senate Democrats Reintroduce Employee Free Choice Act

Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA), Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Rep. George Miller have formally resurrected the contentious Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), introducing a current version of the bill March 10

Sources: Office of U.S. Rep. George Miller (D-CA-7th); National Ready Mixed Concrete Association, Silver Spring, Md.; CP staff

Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA), Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Rep. George Miller have formally resurrected the contentious Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), introducing a current version of the bill March 10. The legislation, whose prior version passed the House but stalled in the Senate two years ago, rewrites terms of employee voting on union representation and contract bargaining.

A joint statement issued by the Office of Rep. Miller, chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, cites among EFCA provisions: a) workers√Ć choice of union representation through a majority sign-up, hence the legislation’s card check nickname, or by National Labor Relations Board-supervised election; b) stiffer penalties against employers that illegally fire or discriminate against pro-union workers for organizing or first contract drive activities, including requiring employers to pay treble back wages to workers whom they are found to have illegally fired; and, c) binding arbitration by federal mediators in the event an agreement on a first contract is not reached within 120 days of a representation vote.

The bill’s re-introduction’s came on the heels of AFL-CIO gatherings in Miami, where in separate addresses President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden each endorsed EFCA.