Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) likely sealed the fate of the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), at least in its current form, when she announced that she will not support EFCA as it is presently drafted. Lincoln's announcement follows similar recent announcements from Senators Arlen Specter (R.-Pa.) and Dianne Feinstein (D.-Calif.).
Like Senators Specter and Feinstein, Senator Lincoln cited the poor economy as a motivating factor for her decision. In a statement, Lincoln said, ". . . [N]ow that we need all hands on deck, including business and labor, to get our economy moving again, this issue is dividing us. While I may not have been clear about my position in the past, I am stating today that I cannot support EFCA in its current form."
In the wake of the recent withdrawals of support, some commentators are predicting that EFCA will not be passed in its current form and may not even make it to the Senate floor. So what does this mean for EFCA? Unfortunately, while Lincoln's withdrawal may be the death knell for EFCA in its current form, it is not the end of the road for EFCA. Rather, Lincoln's withdrawal likely signals that some sort of compromise is inevitable.
Despite the recent setbacks for EFCA, employers would be well served if they act now to plan their labor relations strategies in the event a revised version of EFCA, or an amendment to the National Labor Relations Act, is proposed in Congress. Because labor law reform will likely occur in the coming months and years in light of the Democrats' control of Congress and the White House, Baker & Daniels' labor and employment team has been working with clients across the United States to develop strategies to prepare employers so that they can remain non-union in what continues to be a challenging labor relations environment.