Proponents of the so-called "Employee Free Choice Act" (EFCA) have sworn that the bill's provisions – allowing unions to be formed when a majority of employees sign authorization cards (often in the presence of their coworkers and union organizers) and forcing employers and employees into mandatory binding arbitration – will not apply to America's small businesses. But here is what they don't tell you – EFCA does not contain any specific exemptions for small firms.
In an editorial published recently in the Washington Times, U.S. Representative Howard ("Buck") McKeon, the Ranking Republican Member of the House Education and Labor Committee, debunks the myth that small businesses won't be impacted by EFCA. I found the following example most enlightening:
"Consider a family-run business with seven employees. Four of these workers are caught off-guard, in the parking lot after work or with a knock on the door at home during dinner. They are pressured to sign cards on the spot, expressing interest in the possibility of joining a union.
"No one speaks to the other three workers. No one notifies the family that owns the business and provides the jobs and economic benefit to the community. Days later, the National Labor Relations Board notifies the employer that its workers are now unionized. Communication with the workers could now be considered an inappropriate labor practice. Workers are no longer empowered to speak for themselves, but the family trying to eke out a modest life for itself and its people now finds itself at a bargaining table with savvy union leaders who could just as likely be looking out for their own interests as for those of the workers they 'represent.'"
While this example may seem extreme, it isn't out of the realm of possibility. Small businesses — including small manufacturers — will get caught in the crosshairs. At a time of economic crisis, stifling the ability of America's small businesses to create jobs and power economic growth is just plain stupid.