AFL-CIO Drafts Stronger Rewrite of Employee Free Choice Act

ATLANTA—The AFL-CIO is drafting a stronger rewrite of the nation’s basic labor law – a rewrite that would be far tougher on law-breaking employers than the now-dead Employee Free Choice Act.


The draft statement for the federation’s Executive Council says the Workers Access To Justice Act would ensure workers’ rights are civil rights. It declares that employers who break them “would face the same sorts of penalties as employers who pollute our environment or break civil rights laws.”


Penalties include high fines, triple back pay – with no deductions for replacement earnings – for workers whom employers illegally fire,  and, for the worst violators, criminal charges and, upon conviction, jail terms for corporate executives who violate workers’ rights.


Besides the higher fines, criminal charges and potential jail terms for labor law-breakers, the Workers Access to Justice Act says its provisions would include:


● Barring federal procurement contracts and federally assisted construction contracts to “repeated or substantial labor law violators.”

● Requiring the National Labor Relations Board to immediately order union recognition and bargaining when an employer’s labor law-breaking skews an union representation election, after a majority of workers have signed election authorization cards.

● Making NLRB administrative law judges’ or regional directors’ decisions the final word on all labor law disputes if the board doesn’t decide to review the rulings within 45 days.  Employers would have 30 days to challenge an ALJ’s or regional director’s ruling.

● Requiring employers to post workplace notices of workers’ National Labor Relations Act rights.  The NLRB tried to require such notices, but GOP-named judges on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for D.C., acting on a suit by business lobbies, threw the attempt out.


Senate Labor Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kent., drafted legislation to convert the NLRB into a 6-member board with a 3-3 partisan split, ensuring constant deadlock.  They also want to make it easier for businesses to contest and delay NLRB rulings in court, and to weaken the board’s enforcement powers.

Source: PAI