The following was sent to the editor of MyBusiness magazine, the publication for the National Federation of Independent Business in response to an article about EFCA.
As a long-time member of NFIB, I was rather disappointed to read the article entitled "NFIB takes on Big Labor" in the Feb/March edition of MyBusiness magazine. By only writing about the card-check provision of the bill currently before Congress entitled the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), you neglected to tell the readers about the other major provision that will truly devastate American businesses and workers' jobs--that is, binding arbitration after 120 days of negotiations for a first agreement. It is this provision that should require EFCA to be renamed the Kill American Jobs Act.
After spending nearly eight years as a union activist, and as someone who now helps companies promote positive employee relations and avoid unionization, to me, the Employee Free Choice Act is one of the most dangerous pieces of legislation to ever be considered. While card-check recognition is in itself reprehensible, the fact that Congress would consider forcing an employer to be bound by a contract that is imposed by a government-appointed arbitrator and that will dictate the wages and benefits the employer pays its workers goes against the entire free-market system that has made America the richest nation on earth.
Even today (2/22/07), the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette ran an article entitled "Bill's binding arbitration provision excites unions," proving that labor is looking at binding arbitration as a means of rescuing their failures in negotiating contracts. In the article, a representative from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce was quoted as having told a House committee last week that the chamber felt that the binding arbitration provision of the bill would be "unwise public policy." Unwise public policy? The American public needs to know that binding arbitration would be disaster for America and for American jobs!
What small businesses will be able to bear the added administrative cost of unionization (estimated to be between 15%-30%), let alone have the ability to pay the freight of wages and benefits dictated by a government bureaucrat who has no knowledge of the employer's economic viability or vested interest in the employer's survivability?
Last Labor Day, we started EmployerReport.com as a free website to give information and specifically point out the dangers of EFCA. Unfortunately, EmployerReport.com has been on the vanguard of getting the word about binding arbitration out there. Until very recently, the business community and its industry associations have been entirely lacking in pointing this danger out to the American people and NFIB is no exception. Instead of drawing much-needed attention on the dangers this bill poses for companies and their competitiveness, Big Labor has been allowed to spin this Orwellian-named legislation and the business community is now trying to play catch up.
As the White House has indicated that it will veto the legislation if it makes it through Congress, business may let out a temporary sigh of relief...for now. However, Big Labor and its lackeys in Congress (on both sides of the aisle) will raise the bill again and again until it passes. And, if Hillary Obama Edwards wins the White House in 2008, all have pledged to sign it into law.
With 600,000+ members, NFIB needs to do a better job at educating its members about this destructive bill NOW.
Very truly yours,
Peter A. List
Founder & CEO
"I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes." - Thomas Paine