October 10, 2009
Sen. Bayh on EFCA
Interesting take on the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) from one of the more moderate Democrats in the Senate, Senator Evan Bayh (D-IN) (from an interview with Howey Politics Indiana):
I’m for reform of the labor law system. I’ve said that repeatedly. I think there are problems with the election process getting strung out months and months and months. Some of the penalties for either side committing abusive conduct are either meaningless because they’re too small or they get strung out for years and it doesn’t have an impact. And when you do have successful elections, sometimes the negotiations go on for years and the results of the elections are frustrated in that. At the same time, I think preserving the secret ballot is a good thing. The hardest issues are what do you do once there’s been a successful election and there’s just an impasse at negotiations? I don’t think we’re going to have binding arbitration. But is the mechanism short of that? Is it some sort of last best offer? Is there some sort of finding of bad faith trigger? Some sort of action for mediation? I don’t know. I’m not on the committee that handles that, either, so I am an observer. I’m hoping we can reach a sensible compromise. Many in the business community this summer felt this is going to go off on an irrational way. I’ve heard their concerns. But many in the business community say, “Look, if you can preserve the secret ballot, have reasonably prompt elections, meaningful penalties for those few bad actors out there, then there is some incentive for people to bargain in good faith.” Many in the business community would support that kind of thing. Many on the labor side would say that’s not everything they want, but it’s a step forward. So I’m hopeful we’ll end up in that place. Only time will tell. I told the labor guys this and this is above my pay grade, but I don’t think we’re even going to vote on it this year.
Disappointing that Bayh does not think there will be a vote this year on some version of EFCA, but at least he is for reform of the labor law system. I guess the time it takes to pass some form of health care reform will give us the best indication of when we might see the final push for some version of EFCA.
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