Last week, we reported on numerous efforts underway to create state-level obstacles to federal card-check legislation.  On the other side of the issue, yesterday’s Pacific Business News reports that a Hawaiian Senate Committee has approved a state version of EFCA:

The controversial union card-check measure, which would allow Hawaii labor unions to more easily organize workers by having them sign authorization cards, is gaining ground having cleared its initial committee hearings in the state Senate.

The Senate Committee on Judiciary and Government Operations on Thursday passed Senate Bill 1621, which essentially removes the use of traditional secret-ballot elections by allowing employees to sign cards indicating they’d like to organize under a labor union. If a majority of a company’s workers sign the cards, the union is automatically recognized and free to bargain with management.

The measure also mandates binding arbitration in collective bargaining and removes private-property rights for business owners if the unions want to picket on sidewalks and near entry ways of their establishments. It also establishes legal immunity for unions in actions relating to collective bargaining.

An initial read of the bill indicates that the Hawaiian EFCA is identical in some respects to the federal bill, but includes more drastic measures as well.  A similar bill passed the Hawaiian legislature last year, but was vetoed by Gov. Linda Lingle (R).

It should be interesting to see whether additional states — similarly viewed as union-friendly — introduce or pass similar legislation during the next few months.  It may be that long before EFCA is re-introduced in Congress, we have seen numerous related debates play out regarding state opposition measures, state mini-EFCA’s and the Secret Ballot Protection Act (H.R. 1176, S. 478).

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