Were you wondering what happened to the Employee Free Choice Act?

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I remember that a year ago (how time flies!), a hot topic among labor and employment attorneys was the Employee Free Choice Act. They were debating how it would dramatically alter the unionization of U.S. workplaces. According to the AFLCIO website, the Act would enable working people to bargain for better benefits, wages and working conditions by restoring workers’ freedom to choose for themselves whether to join a union. It would:

  • Remove current obstacles to employees who want collective bargaining.
  • Guarantee that workers who can choose collective bargaining are able to achieve a contract.
  • Allow employees to form unions by signing cards authorizing union representation.

Anti-union groups were protesting vociferously, claiming that the passage of the Act would strip American workers of their right to a private-ballot vote, require companies to submit to binding arbitration, and increase penalties for unfair labor practices committed by employers but not by unions.

The hoopla and debate fell to the wayside and we have heard hardly a peep about the EFCA since last year. Curious about what happened to it? I was, so I checked out the govtrack.us website, which allows you to track the progress of Congress on line. According to the website, the bill was referred to the Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions on April 29, 2009 and has not moved from the Subcommittee since.

With so many other things on Congress’ and the President’s plates, it seems unlikely that this bill will be brought up again and voted upon.


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