Following Arlen Specter’s announcement that he was opposed to the Employee Free Choice Act in its current form and other senators expressing strong reservations about the bill (See Michael Fox’s post here), there has been much speculation about what the next step will be in organized labor’s attempts to obtain labor organization reform. Will Labor seek to have a compromise bill passed this year? Will it wait until the 2010 mid-term elections or until the economy improves to try and pick up a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate? Only organized labor knows for sure what it will do next.
However at this weekend’s 27th Annual Multi-State Labor and Employment Law Seminar sponsored by the Tulane University Law School in San Antonio, Texas, Nancy Schiffer, Associate General Counsel for the AFL-CIO in Washington, D.C. presented a paper entitled "Change We Can Believe In –The Employee Free Choice Act." In her remarks, Ms. Schiffer unequivocally stated that Congress will pass some form of labor organization reform this year –likely before September 2009. The remarks, from the Associate General Counsel of one of the nation’s largest unions, makes clear that organized labor has not given up on its efforts to pass the EFCA in its current form. It appears that organized labor does not intend to wait until after the mid-term elections or an economic recovery to seek this reform. I expect that organized labor will rejuvenate its efforts and lobbying campaign to pass the EFCA once Al Franken is seated in the U.S. Senate and the Democrats have a 60 vote majority in the Senate. Consequently, the stories of the EFCA demise may be greatly exaggerated and employers should not forgo their efforts to prepare for its potential passage.