EFCA Is a Threat: NAM Letter to Congress

March 1, 2009
WASHINGTONThe National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) has sent a letter to Congress to oppose the Employee Free Choice Act that was introduced yesterday

WASHINGTON—The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) has sent a letter to Congress to oppose the Employee Free Choice Act that was introduced yesterday to the House and Senate.

Following is the complete text of the letter, written by Jay Timmons, executive vice president of NAM:

“Our manufacturing economy faces many challenges ahead. As Congress considers legislation to address these concerns, we urge you to oppose proposals that will further hinder manufacturers’ economic competitiveness and our ability to create jobs. The recently introduced Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA H.R.1409/S.560) is one of the most direct threats to economic growth and job retention and creation.

“I have never met a man for whom I have more respect and admiration than my grandfather, who was a proud union member at the local paper mill in southern Ohio where I grew up. Most of my extended family and many friends possessed a union card. In the early part of the last century, pay was inequitable, working conditions were unhealthful and workers had no rights to grievance or bargain. Because of the efforts of generations past, management and the workforce have worked more closely together to ensure American competitiveness and jobs, while many existing government regulations provide the necessary balanced protections for workers. The need for unionization has diminished substantially as employers–particularly manufacturers–foster positive employee relations and understand that these relationships should be conducted in a spirit of mutual respect and fairness.

“Unfortunately, the key provisions in the EFCA limit the rights of employees and threaten the ability of manufacturers to continue to create and retain jobs in the U.S. This bill represents the worst type of power grab by the special interests because, while it purports to help workers, it actually would threaten the very jobs those workers have toiled so hard to maintain.

“The EFCA effectively eliminates the ability of employees to use secret ballot voting when deciding whether to join a labor union. The secret ballot process would be replaced by a flawed system that would certify labor unions with a simple majority of signed authorization cards, which exposes employees to intimidation and coercion. While pro-EFCA ads attempt to blur this issue, the evidence is clear–the bill eliminates the secret ballot for union certification.

The binding arbitration provisions of the EFCA are equally–if not more–onerous. They would effectively eliminate an employer’s ability to make the critical economic decisions that are tied directly to our ability to compete and create jobs in this global economy. This provision of the EFCA is of particular concern to manufacturers as it opens the door to government control of wages and benefits.

“Recently published economic analysis illustrates that the passage of the EFCA would result in a one percentage point rise in unemployment for every 3 percentage point increase in labor union membership in the year following enactment. Based on union leaders’ projections of increased union membership under the EFCA, this legislation [would] cause 600,000 American jobs to be lost.

“We have no doubt that you share our goals of economic recovery, growth and job creation, as well as promoting fair and balanced labor laws. Quite simply, the EFCA accomplishes none of that, and will produce just the opposite. We urge you to vote to support a strong economy and American jobs by opposing any votes related to the consideration of this bill, procedural or otherwise.”