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The Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), introduced in Congress yesterday, will put American jobs at risk and remove critical protections and rights workers currently enjoy, according to the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA).
The Arlington, Va.-based trade association added that the proposed measure would effectively eliminate a worker's right to a secret ballot and force employees and managers to accept contract terms set by a federally appointed arbitrator, as well as deny employees the opportunity to ratify or decline the contracts imposed by arbitrators -- a right guaranteed under current law.
"RILA supports American workers' existing right to organize unions in the workplace," noted RILA president Sandy Kennedy. "This proposal removes essential protections provided under existing law and puts the will of a federally appointed arbitrator ahead of the wishes of impacted employees and managers when negotiating wages, benefits and other contract terms."
To bolster its position, the organization cited a recently released nonpartisan economic impact study by economist Anne Layne-Farrar finding that every three percentage points gained in union membership through card checks and mandatory arbitration would result in a one-percentage-point rise in the unemployment rate the next year. Based on the predictions of EFCA proponents, the study suggests that 600,000 more Americans will lose their jobs by the close of 2010.
"RILA opposes this dangerous legislation because it threatens the well-being of the millions of American workers who have willfully chosen the independence and flexibility inherent in a workplace without unions," said Kennedy.