Pro-Union Bill Introduced in Congress

April 19, 2005 ( - A bill that would allow a union to be formed if a majority of employees supported such a move has been introduced by a bipartisan group of legislators.

>According to an AFL-CIO  release , a bipartisan group of Sens. Edward Kennedy (D-Massachusetts) and Arlen Specter (R-Pennsylvania) and Reps.George Miller (D-California) and Pete King (R-New York)  have introduced the Employee Free Choice Act.

>Among other things, the bill

  • provide 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,
  • provide stronger penalties for violations while employees are attempting to organize or obtain a first contract, 
    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, and
  • 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.

The bill was put forth last year, but Congress adjourned before voting. At that time, 38 senators and 210   US representatives had signed on as co-sponsors of the   Employee Free Choice Act, according to the AFL-CIO.