According to the Washington Post, executives from three progressive employers, Costco, Whole Foods and Starbucks, have offered a compromise of sorts on the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA). Their proposed compromise would drop the card-check and mandatory arbitration provisions of the act, but give unions greater access to employees and guarantee union elections within a specific time period. Click here to read the Post’s article on the proposal.
The compromise would remove from EFCA the two provisions that give employers the most heartburn: a provision that would allow employees to form a union without a secret-ballot election if a majority sign pro-union cards, and one that would impose binding arbitration if employers and unions fail to reach a contract after 120 days. However, the compromise would keep EFCA’s increased penalties for companies that retaliate against workers before union elections or refuse to engage in collective bargaining, would set a fixed period in which an election must be held, limiting the delays that give employers time to campaign, and would provide unions equal access to workers before elections — for instance, by allowing organizers to address workers on a lunch break on company premises.
Don’t expect either side to jump on the bandwagon soon. Unions are committed to the card-check and arbitration provisions, and anti-EFCA forces will not favor giving unions on-site access to employees anytime soon. But, as the EFCA fight goes on, creative proposals like this one might be what is needed to break a Senate filibuster. Keep watching the Stoel Rives World of Employment for more EFCA news and updates.