Federal bailout for organized labor looms

Related video: "Employee Forced Choice Act"
More EFCA stories: herecard-check: here

Union bigs lick their chops at forced-dues windfall

If the Employee Free Choice Act is approved, a Charleston labor attorney says the result will be a lot of litigation.

"I don't think it's the best thing to keep labor lawyers like me employed fully at the expense of workers and companies," Attorney Kevin Carr said on Tuesday's MetroNews Talkline. He works for the law firm of Spilman Thomas and Battle and represents employers in labor disputes.

Right now, if workers at a specific business want to form a union, a petition is circulated among those employees. If 30% of the workers sign that petition, it triggers an election on possible unionization which the National Labor Relations Board oversees.

Related video: "Employee Forced Choice Act"

The proposed Employee Free Choice Act or card check system, as it is sometimes called, would allow a union to be formed without the NLRB's involvement. All it would take to form a union is for 50% of the workers plus one to check yes on cards the union would circulate.

"It takes the government agency and the employer out of the equation, allows the union on its own time without knowledge of the employer to get cards from 50% plus one of the employees at which time then the union's in place," Carr says.

He says it's like this. "If you look at the Presidential Election, it would be as if John McCain was invited to every debate alone. John McCain was allowed to put his website up and John McCain was allowed to speak to the American people and Barack Obama wasn't."

Supporters of the Employee Free Choice Act say it would allow working people to bargain for better wages, benefits and working conditions by restoring the freedom of those workers to choose for themselves whether or not to join the union. It also provides for mediation and arbitration for first contract disputes.

Carr was on Tuesday's MetroNews Talkline as part of the ongoing debate on the issue. Those who favor the Act will be guests on future shows.

Congress is expected to again take up the Employee Free Choice Act at some point.


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