The Senate Republican Committee held a hearing yesterday to voice opposition to the Employee Free Choice Act (H.R. 1409, S. 560).  Talk Radio News Service today carries the following quotes from participating Senators:

  • Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah):  “It represents a sea-change in labor-management relations that has developed since the 1930s…. EFCA would effectively deny workers a secret ballot vote on the question of union representation, and there is no choice for workers to make in the matter.”
  • Senator Bob Bennett (R-Utah):  "When you have a secret ballot election, unions have won 68% of them, which means that by 2 to 1 circumstance, employees get what they want if they want a union.” 
  • Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho): “We have in place in America laws that have governed union organization and collective bargaining for many years. We have a fair system and we have a level playing field…. What we have in front of us is a bill that is unfair. It is a bill that unlevels the playing field, and it is a bill that overreaches. We don’t need this in America today.”

Shopfloor.org has linked to the statement of former U.S. Department of Labor Solicitor Eugene Scalia who questioned the constitutionality of the legislation.  After expressing concerns about the card-check provisions, Scalia criticized the mandatory interest arbitration provisions:

To appreciate some of the problems that could result from rules for a business being written by someone who does not know the business well, consider the problems in the text of the EFCA mandatory arbitration provision itself. This provision would be the most important change in labor law in 60 years or more, yet its vagueness would sow confusion and litigation. Who will the arbitrators be? How will they be selected, and by whom? How would the arbitrators go about deciding the contract terms, and what knowledge of the company and industry would they bring to the task? If the arbitrator writes a terrible, one-sided contract—as has happened in other jurisdictions with “interest” arbitration—what opportunity would there be to get it reviewed by a court, and what legal standard would the court apply?