The Corner

Employee Free Choice Act and the Rust Belt

EFCA does not amend Section 14 (b) of the National Labor Relations Act that permits states to have right-to-work laws. Although EFCA will make it much easier to organize in every state in the Union, card check may have a more profound impact on states without right-to-work laws ( i.e., where employees can be required to join a union as a condition of employment).

 

Employers facing the prospect of EFCA in non right-to-work states already have begun asking whether it makes sense to begin, continue, or expand operations in those states. How does an employer remain competitive when stuck with an EFCA mandatory arbitration award that raises his labor costs above that of his competitor in the adjacent right-to-work state?

 

The migration of companies from the rust belt to the sun belt that became a stampede in the 1970s was fueled in part by the desire to escape union requirements that made companies less competitive. Since EFCA will increase unionization dramatically and could bind companies to terms to which they didn’t agree, it’s reasonable to conclude that more companies will consider relocation, perhaps even off-shore. Regardless of whether one thinks the relocation is right or wrong, justified or unjustified, it’s sheer fantasy to believe it can’t or won’t happen.

 

Senators from non right-to-work states will be confronting reality, not fantasy, when they vote on EFCA.

Peter Kirsanow — Peter N. Kirsanow is an attorney and a member of the United States Commission on Civil Rights.

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