EFCA Still Potent for Organized Labor

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media , July 20, 2009

"Nothing precludes the NLRB through their rule making authority from potentially shortening the time frame (for unionization votes) and maybe even ruling on card check," Trivisonno says. "A lot of folks are focused on the single issue of card check but there is so much out there legislatively and the unions' ability to influence the administration is incredible. They've got access. They are going to use it."

In other words, keep your guard up. Organized labor is making an aggressive push to grow its membership and SEIU—which already represents more than one million healthcare workers—has specifically targeted the healthcare sector. Whatever shape EFCA takes when it comes out of Congress, President Obama will quickly sign it, and the NLRB will enforce it, all to the benefit of organized labor.

It's going to happen, so Trivisonno says management needs to prepare. Employees need to hear the case against organized labor. "It's very important to articulate and not be afraid of discussing with your employees your position," he says. "Some employers feel that if they mention the "U" word it is going to help the union. Nothing could be further from the truth. Make sure that people are clear on your position early on."

I am not taking sides on this issue. While organized labor can be justifiably criticized on many, many fronts, critics must also concede that unions helped build the middle class in this nation by pushing for fair wages, better working conditions, the 40-hour work week, overtime pay, and countless other contributions that have improved the lives of tens of millions of men, women, and children, most of whom have reaped the benefit despite never having been in a union. When it comes to organized labor, I subscribe to a simple dictum: Management gets the union it deserves.

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John Commins is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media.

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