The Chair of the House Education and Labor Committee, George Miller (D-CA), with 230 co-sponsors, introduced H.R. 800 which is entitled the "Employee Free Choice Act of 2007." Although the name of the bill would suggest "free choice" among employees regarding union representation, the bill actually contains provisions which, if passed, would take away the current right of employees to have a secret ballot vote as to whether to accept union representation. Instead, the bill would allow the National Labor Relations Board to certify a union as the representative of employees based upon signed union authorization cards with no election process.
Further, if a union is certified pursuant to the "no election" procedures under the bill, that union would enjoy a guaranteed initial two-year contract. But, that is not all. The bill would also subject both employees and employers to binding decisions of outside arbitrators with respect to the setting of wages and other terms/conditions of employment. That arbitration process would begin in the event that the union and the employer were not able to agree to wages and other terms of employment with respect to the initial two-year contract.
House leadership anticipates a "fast track" for this legislation. Moreover, the bill contains provisions permitting injunctive proceedings in federal court with respect to alleged unfair labor practices and also provides for liquidated damages and civil penalties of up to $20,000 per violation.
Not surprisingly, the bill is a major focus of organized labor's legislative priorities.