The Employee Free Choice Act was introduced as bipartisan legislation by Sens. Edward Kennedy
(D-Mass.) and Reps. George Miller (D-Calif.) and Peter King (R-N.Y.).
1. Certification on the Basis of Majority Sign-Up
Provides for certification of a union as the bargaining representative if the National Labor
Relations Board (NLRB) finds that a majority of employees in an appropriate unit has signed
authorizations designating the union as its bargaining representative. Requires the board to
develop model authorization language and procedures for establishing the validity of signed
2. First-Contract Mediation and Arbitration
Provides that if an employer and a union are engaged in bargaining for their first contract and
are unable to reach agreement within 90 days, either party may refer the dispute to the Federal
Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) for mediation. If the FMCS is unable to bring the
parties to agreement after 30 days of mediation, the dispute will be referred to arbitration, and
the results of the arbitration shall be binding on the parties for two years. Time limits may be
extended by mutual agreement of the parties.
3. Stronger Penalties for Violations While Employees Are Attempting to Form
a Union or Attain a First Contract
Makes the following new provisions applicable to violations of the National Labor Relations Act
committed by employers against employees during any period while employees are attempting
to form a union or negotiate a first contract with the employer:
a. Civil Penalties: Provides for civil fines of up to $20,000 per violation against employers
found to have willfully or repeatedly violated employees’ rights during an organizing
campaign or first contract drive.
b. Treble Back Pay: Increases the amount an employer is required to pay when an employee
is discharged or discriminated against during an organizing campaign or first contract drive
to three times back pay.
c. Mandatory Applications for Injunctions: Provides that just as the N