The Employee Free Choice Act would amend the National Labor Relations Act to provide stronger protections for workers who want to form unions. 270 members of Congress have cosponsored the bill. Here is a comparison of organizing conditions now, and under the proposed amended NLRA:
Union-busting: The only penalty for illegally firing a union activist is to reinstate the employee with back pay. Other illegal activities are penalized by requiring the employer to post a notice saying they won’t break the law any more.
NLRB Elections: Employers require workers go through a lengthy election process. They use lawyers to drag out the process and wage an antiunion campaign.
Bad Faith Bargaining: Once workers win an election, the boss often refuses to bargain. They know that if they can drag the process out, they may be able to convince workers to decertify the union.
Practice Under Proposed Legislation
Penalties for Union-busting: Employers who illegally fire activists during an organizing campaign would pay triple back pay. Other violations of organizing rights would carry fines up to $20,000.
Card Check: Workers would sign up a majority of their co-workers on representation cards to form a union (this is the process for organizing unions in Canada and Western Europe).
Arbitration for First Contracts: If no contract is reached in 120 days of forming a union, outstanding issues would be decided by an arbitrator.