EFCA: It's Back

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Here’s some news that most of America doesn’t care about.

President Obama made a few recess appointments to fill vacancies in his administration.

Seriously, I ask myself, who cares? We have bigger fish to fry with bombings in Russia and the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Haiti.

Unfortunately, plenty of people care. Like Republicans.

The most controversial recess appointment is Craig Becker, a lawyer who has represented the SEIU and AFL-CIO. Becker was appointed to the National Labor Relations Board, an independent federal agency that administers the National Labor Relations Act. The major concern voiced by the GOP (via the WSJ) is that Craig Becker can’t be impartial on a board that supervises union elections and referees disputes between employers and employees. Unlike Republican appointees to the NLRB who have voiced opinions on political issues before they were called to serve, Becker might go Manchurian Candidate on the American electorate and implement communist, pinko policies in the workforce.

Because this is 1962.

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You and I both know that Republicans aren’t upset that Obama used the recess appointment process to fill vacancies. After all, this is a common practice and was used in 2005 to install John Bolton as our UN Ambassador. John Bolton famously said, “There’s no such thing as the United Nations. If the U.N. secretary building in New York lost 10 stories, it wouldn’t make a bit of difference.”

Classy.

What the GOP is really upset about is EFCA and a provision in that legislation known as card check.

  • Right now, a union collects signatures for the right to represent workers — but an employer can ask for the workers to participate in an election (with a secret ballot) even if a majority of workers have signed up to be represented by the union.
  • Under EFCA, the NLRB would have the right to certify the union without the election if certain criteria were met.

Or not. The NLRB could still order an election.

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I’m pro-EFCA for many reasons, including the fact that Mitch McConnell opposes it. Whenever I have any doubts in life, I do the opposite of that tool.

For the record, EFCA is not about removing your right to a free and fair election in the workforce. It is not about imposing the will of unions on a majority group of employees who don’t want representation. It is not about turning our work environment into a socialist commune where no one has the right to earn any money and your wages are sent to a thug in Chicago.

EFCA, while not a perfect piece of legislation, provides worker protections in an unprecedentedly smart and fair way. It reaffirms the right to organize and bargain in America. It imposes fines and penalties to companies who stand in the way of honest & fair organizing endeavors.

[That’s so scary. Employees with bargaining power. God forbid.]

Whenever I hear someone bemoan the unions in this country, I roll my eyes and wonder why they aren’t bemoaning the sad state of the American workforce. Record unemployment. Deflated wages. Outsourcing. Offshoring. Lack of access to child care. Fear of participating in company-sanctioned benefits programs because it might look bad. Companies have so many rights, including the right to donate and spend unlimited money on behalf of politicians. Why not balance the equation with fair and decent legislation that levels the playing field?

Now tell me why I’m wrong.

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