As expected, Democrats introduced The Employee Free Choice Act today in both the U. S House of Representatives and the Senate. Although the text of the bills was not readily available, the announcement confirmed the proposed legislation will provide employees the right to organize a bargaining unit of employees through a card check, thereby bypassing a secret ballot election, provide for a shortened first contract bargaining process that could culminate in mandatory arbitration for a two year contract, and will substantially increase employer penalties for unfair labor practices committed during union organizing and first contract negiotiations. Although the legislation will need to proceed through the typical legislative process, proponents are seeking to fast track the time frame. "The current crisis has shown us the dangers of an economy that leaves working families behind. The people who work in our factories, build our roads, and care for our children are the backbone of this great nation. The Employee Free Choice Act will give these hardworking men and women a greater voice in the decisions that affect their families and their futures. It’s a critical step toward putting our economy back on track, and I hope that we can act quickly to send it to the President’s desk," said Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA), chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.
Employers need to begin to implement now the next stages of their union - free strategy.