EFCA, the Employee Free Choice Act, has garnered a lot of attention from employers and employment law attorneys. If passed, the much-hyped legislation could have far-reaching effects on non-union workplaces. Unions would be able to bypass the election process and move directly to the card-counting process. Penn professor and management guru Peter Cappelli has written a captivating column for HR Executive Online called, “EFCA’s Significance for HR.” I would encourage anyone interested in the impact of the EFCA to read the column. Maybe even read it twice.
Cappelli looks at the history of the labor movement, comparing the power and influence of the unions in the pre- and post-Reagan administration. He notes, with apparent disappointment, that unions have been on the decline since the early 1980’s.
He contends that the EFCA doesn’t stand a chance. Interesting.
But he then contends that HR professionals and employment lawyers would only stand to benefit from the EFCA.
So here’s the little secret: Nothing would do more for the influence and prestige of human resources within companies than a resurgent labor movement.
While management lawyers across the country are warning employers of impending doom if EFCA passes, they are pinching themselves at their good fortune just to have legislation like it being considered because of the attention it gives them.
I remember in the mid-1980s hearing a table of labor-relations managers tell me that they really wished for a good organizing campaign at their plants because that was the only time senior management provided any resources to deal with bad supervisors and other workplace problems.
Cappelli is an expert in all things management and his perspective is one I’ve not heard previously. It certainly is a fascinating approach to the potential impact of the Employee Free Choice Act.