Andy Stern, President of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), was recently interviewed by USA Today where he predicted the passage of the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) by August.
Unions have substantial political clout and this prediction should be respected. According to Department of Labor filings, the SEIU has almost 1.7 million members and spent $32.9 million on political activities and lobbying in 2007. The SEIU’s 2008 report will likely show an increase in its political spending on the Presidential Election. Mr. Stern has also expressed his sentiments on organized labor’s role in the election and its expectations in a Wall Street Journal Interview as follows:
"We just won an election. It’s no secret." By "we," Andy Stern means "American workers." He also means Big Labor. Speaking on behalf of the fastest growing trade group in America, the Service Employees International Union — and as one of labor’s most powerful figures today — Mr. Stern sets this simple bar for the Obama presidency: "I expect nothing less than what he said he was going to do, and we should hold him accountable."
Labor has its sights on EFCA and this pending legislation has enormous potential consequences for employers. Currently, employers cannot make significant workplace policy or other changes once a union files a petition for election. Under EFCA, there may not be an election, only a card check. Employers may not be aware of organizing efforts or have insufficient time to react. Employers should be putting into place union avoidance programs before EFCA becomes law. Developing an action plan should include the following items:
- Assessing union eligibility of working supervisors under RESPECT Act.
- Educating supervisors on authorization cards and the Nuts and Bolts of EFCA.
- Adopting union-free policies on solicitation, bulletin boards, and use of e-mail.
- Initiating engagement surveys.
More information is contained in our prior posts as follows: