Employee Free Choice Act of 2009

A recent visitor to this blog asked a question about the Employee Free Choice Act of 2009.

Dear Mr. Crook:

Any updates on the Employee Free Choice Act?

Would you be able to comment on how this act may affect public employers? If passed, would it make it nearly impossible for public employers to keep unions out? I've read where "newly certified unions would enter binding arbitration if they cannot reach agreement on an initial contract after 90 days of negotiations."

Thank you!


Very Concerned HR Professional

The Employee Free Choice Act of 2009 was introduced in the House as H.R. 1409 and in the Senate as S. 560. The legislation amends the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) in an attempt to make it easier for employees to form or join a labor union at their place of employment by allowing certification of a Union without a secret-ballot election if "a majority of the employees in a unit appropriate for bargaining has signed valid authorizations." The legislation further requires an arbitration panel to resolve any dispute that prevents the entry of a collective bargaining agreement within 120 days of a newly formed unit. The legislation also strengthens enforcement mechanisms to protect against employer violations of the NLRA during the formation process.

The legislation has been referred in the House to the House Subcomittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions and in the Senate to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.

The legislation does not affect public employers at all since it does not include any language expanding the NLRA's reach to federal or state governments or their agencies.