75% of those polled in the dark about proposed Employee Free Choice Act

[Chicago, February 19]– Despite millions of dollars already spent on both sides of the issue, three-quarters of Americans are completely in the dark over the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), a law touted by labor unions and political supporters as a way to increase unionization and improve the lives of middle-class America. And American workers are sharply divided over its merits, according to the latest national poll by the Employment Law Alliance (ELA)

The poll sampled 1,288 working men and women across the U.S. They were asked about their awareness of the EFCA, views on its major elements and its potential impact on the workplace and the economy. The poll has an error interval of +/- 2.73% at a 95% level of confidence.

Bruce R. Alper, the Illinois Representative and Founding Member of the ELA, said the results may cause business leaders to refocus their extensive outreach efforts. “They should be concerned that so few Americans are even aware of the EFCA, the most sweeping proposed labor law reform of this generation. This sort of ignorance gives union organizers a distinct advantage” (Complete results are available at www.employmentlawalliance.com).

  • Only one-quarter reported that they were aware of the EFCA.
  • Slightly over one-quarter (26%) say they support the EFCA, and nearly as many (24%) oppose it.
  • Fewer than one-third (30%) of those surveyed support replacing a secret-ballot election with a “card check” system to determine union representation; 35% were opposed.
  • Asked about the use of government-supervised, binding arbitration to settle a contract in the event of a deadlock, 37% favor this while 22% were opposed.
  • Gauging a possible “Obama factor,” 30% said they were more likely to back the EFCA if the President supported it.

Alper, whose Chicago-based firm, Vedder Price P.C. represents many public corporations and private companies said, “Most of our clients believe this legislation will eventually become law, so they are putting plans in place right now to educate their employees about union authorization card drives and to urge them to think carefully about whether they support union representation before signing one of those cards. They are taking nothing for granted, including that their employees understand the EFCA, which the poll clearly shows is not the case.”

Dr. Ted Reed, President of reed group in Philadelphia and Survey Director for the poll, said the survey may be revealing a disconnection between the perceptions of the EFCA within and outside the Washington Beltway on both sides of the issue. “While the rhetoric has been highly charged, the poll shows only a slight plurality thinks EFCA willimprove the standard of living for the middle class. And there was no clear majority that believes EFCA would help turn around the ailing economy, reduce the number of layoffs, or reduce the number of jobs being sent overseas. The strongest sentiment among those polled was toward their lack of awareness and understanding of the EFCA.”