House OKs Pro-Union Language

February 17, 2022

A last-minute addition to the America COMPETES Act of 2022 (H.R. 4521) in the House included major provisions of the NSBA-opposed Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), namely those providing for union organizing via “card check” and first-contract interest arbitration.

Specifically, employers receiving funding under the legislation—as well as their subcontractors—would be required to recognize labor unions that organize via “card check” and would be subject to a mandatory arbitration process that would set the terms of a first-time collective bargaining agreement. Similar provisions are included in the NSBA-opposed Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act of 2021, but with that legislation stalled in the Senate, organized labor and its allies continue to seek alternative avenues of enactment.

The Manager’s Amendment included two provisions that infringe on the rights of worker union organizing drives. One provision strips workers of their right to a secret ballot to elect representation elections, needlessly exposing those workers to intimidation, coercion and harassment. The other provision would force mandatory arbitration on the workforce, depriving workers of the opportunity to vote on their collective bargaining agreements.

The America COMPETES Act—which passed along party lines—is the House’s companion bill to the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act of 2021 (S. 1260), which passed the Senate in June 2021. The next step is a conference committee to work out the differences between two bills.