Because President Barack Obama has repeatedly stated his desire to sign the legislation into law and the bill likely has enough support to pass the House, the battle remains is in the Senate where efforts to inform moderate Republicans and Democrats have been ongoing for more than two years. Six months ago, conventional wisdom was that EFCA could be brought up for a vote in January and signed into law just weeks later. However, key moderate Democrats such as Sens. Arlen Specter (D-PA), Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) and Ben Nelson (D-NE) have publicly stated their concerns with the bill and forced union leaders back to the drawing board.
This Congress, the bill was introduced on March 10—three months after its expected release. Soon thereafter, on March 24, Specter announced his intention to oppose cloture and the underlying bill if it is taken up again by the Senate in the near term. In his announcement, Specter specifically cited concerns with the secret ballot, binding arbitration and the impact EFCA would have on the current economy as central to his decision. While certainly this announcement was an important victory attributable to the business community's unity and the anti-EFCA efforts underway, the battle is far from over. With Sen. Al Franken seated in Minnesota, the bill’s supporters are only one vote away from the 60 votes they need to prevail.
Despite the campaigns’ success to date, the battle is not over. As a result, dangerous talks of compromise have been rumored. RILA and the broader business community remain firm that true labor law reform cannot be discussed with EFCA as the starting place for negotiations. The unreasonableness of EFCA as a starting platform is evidenced in the “compromises” floated by Big Labor recently, including mail-in ballots that further incent organizers to harass employees at their homes, granting unions “equal access” to employees on the clock to pitch the merits of joining, and last best offer arbitration that still retains a government arbiter’s ability to determine employee contracts. Thus far, neither moderate Democrats nor business leaders appear to be listening to these ideas; however, RILA recognizes that this position could change at any moment and maintains close relationships with key policymakers and their staff to ensure we maintain the upper hand on this issue. RILA has been a leading voice in opposition to EFCA. As the process moves forward, we must continue to remain completely united in opposition to any compromise. EFCA proponents would love nothing more than to fracture the business community – and will exploit any perceived divisions in an effort to entice other companies to jump on the “compromise bandwagon.” Any talk of compromise now will simply pave the way to a union victory on a law that will be dangerously close to EFCA.
We must remain vigilant that EFCA be taken off the table before any other labor law reforms are discussed. It is absolutely critical that the business community continue to engage and weigh in with moderate Democrats and Republicans and urge them to oppose EFCA or anything closely resembling this bill.