The U.S. House of Representatives has passed, the U.S. Senate will consider, and the Bush Administration has pledged to veto, a bill entitled the "Employee Free Choice Act." The legislation would be the most significant federal labor law revision in decades. Proponents argue that by enabling employees to form a union without the formality of secret ballot elections, the bill will provide greater protection against what some believe to be coercive employer conduct during union organizing campaigns. Opponents argue that if workers are not able to vote in private, they will be subject to undue pressure from unions (and from some employers), and that waning union membership is due to the decreasing benefits of unionization rather than to employer misconduct. Other notable provisions in the bill include mandatory federal mediation at the request of either party if a newly-organized company and the union cannot agree on a first contract, with the contract terms being determined by an arbitrator if agreement is not reached in mediation. Our panel of experts will discuss the pros and cons of the pending bill, and competing bills, and their likelihood of ultimate passage.
- Hon. Sarah M. Fox, Of Counsel, Bredhoff & Kaiser, P.L.L.C. and former member, National Labor Relations Board
- Brent Garren, Senior Associate Counsel, UNITE HERE
- Charlotte L. Montiel, Deputy Director, U.S. Senate Republican Steering Committee
- Hon. John N. Raudabaugh, Baker & McKenzie LLP and former member, National Labor Relations Board
- Hon. John S. Irving, Of Counsel, Kirkland & Ellis and former General Counsel, National Labor Relations Board, Moderator
Date: Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Location: Capitol Hill Club