EFCA, Still Breathing?

January 26, 2011

About a year ago we wrote about the crippling impact that Healthcare Reform, Cap & Trade and the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) were having on a business’ ability to interpret what costs they might encounter and plan for.  The uncertainty led to little business movement outside of layoffs and consolidations.  As companies position for incremental employment growth and capital investments in machinery and equipment, the threat of EFCA spoiling North Carolina’s recovering economy still looms.

It’s not common to hear EFCA referred to anymore, and initially that seems like a good thing – let the deceptively named bill, and the threat to one of North Carolina’s most significant competitive advantages, go away.  As quiet as EFCA has been, we decided to ask Representative Shuler, Senator Burr, and Senator Hagan for a statement on EFCA, and the chance we’ll see the legislation, or a version of it, reappear.  Here are the statement responses we received.

Senator Hagan:
“For the 112th Congress, my No. 1 priority is jobs, jobs, jobs for North Carolinians. I don’t believe the House or Senate will focus on EFCA in this Congress or that there is sufficient support for this legislation.”

Senator Burr:
“I oppose the Employee Free Choice Act because I believe the secret ballot is a cornerstone of our democracy and should be preserved in the workplace.” 

Representative Shuler:
“I did not sponsor the Employee Free Choice Act in the last Congress, and it did not come to the floor for a vote. As of today, it has not been reintroduced for the 112th Congress. If it is reintroduced, I do not expect it to be brought to the House floor for a vote. I am hopeful that employers and employees can work together to find common ground that benefits both groups. Only by joining together can we rebuild our economy, create jobs in Western North Carolina, and strengthen the middle class.”

During the process of trying to collect current information about EFCA, we have learned that this issue may still be alive but likely moving from the Capitol (legislation) to the White House (regulation) for placement.  Many of the components of EFCA could be incorporated into administrative regulation through the Labor Department and the National Labor Relations Board.

We will need to continue to monitor EFCA as if it is legislation, ensuring that North Carolina’s status and crown as the nation’s least-unionized state is not compromised.