Gingrich: Arbitration clause greater threat than 'card check'

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McKnight's Newsmaker Videos: Gingrich talks about healthcare reform, Zandi addresses economic recove
McKnight's Newsmaker Videos: Gingrich talks about healthcare reform, Zandi addresses economic recove
The biggest concern with possibly enacting the Employee Free Choice Act is not the so-called card-check measure, which would make union organizing easier; it is the lesser known binding arbitration clause, argues former U.S. Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich in an article Wednesday on politico.com.

He called the arbitration provisions of recently discussed proposals threats to the economy and personal freedoms. Labor and the business community have made the EFCA a top political battleground in recent months. Long-term care providers and most employers are against the EFCA.

Although support for the bill has apparently waned enough over the past few weeks to keep it off the Senate voting schedule, there is concern that a modified proposal could re-emerge. Bad idea, Gingrich argues, especially if it includes the current arbitration proposal, which calls for binding federal arbitration if workers and owners can't come to an agreement over wages and benefits within 120 days of a successful union organizing effort. Gingrich says union bosses could simply make outlandish demands during contract negotiations with the hopes that the National Labor Relations Board will exercise its influence in favor of the unions.

Supporters of the legislation say the arbitration clause is designed to prevent employers from dragging out contract negotiations after a union has been formed. Under the bill, if after 30 days no contract has been agreed upon, an arbitration board would put together a two-year contract that would be binding to both parties, “unless amended during such period by written consent of the parties.”