The Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) is likely the most sweeping labor legislation since the NLRB was formed in 1935 and is designed specifically to make it easier for unions to organize. Non-union businesses of all sizes are in jeopardy of seeing increases in their labor costs of 10-25% within the first 3 years of a union contract when the new Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) passes. (Notice I did say when, not IF it passes, but more about that in a minute).

There are three main components of EFCA:

  1. Elimination of Secret Ballot Elections – certification of a union will be based on the union obtaining 50% + 1 signed union authorization cards
  2. Implementation of Mandatory Interest Arbitration – this provision will establish a system where the terms and conditions of employment (including but not limited to wages, benefits, holidays, vacations, overtime provisions, pensions, etc.) can be unilaterally set by an arbitrator without regard to whether the employer can actually afford it.
  3. Increased penalties for unfair labor practices committed by the employer – the NLRB will be required to investigate charges of unfair labor practices and if substantiated companies can be forced to pay triple back pay to an affected employee and possibly fines up to $20k for each violation.

I know what you’re thinking – it might not even pass, right? Well one thing is sure, labor spent over $400 million in the last election to ensure the election of Representatives, Senators and even a President who will support EFCA. With a Democratic Congress, House of Representatives and President, labor expects to be repaid; so you can bet EFCA will pass in some form this year.

So what does that mean to you? Well, consider this, unions are out there right now getting your employees to sign authorization cards because they know that when EFCA passes (and it will!) all they have to do is present 50% +1 to the NLRB and they will represent your employees.

If you aren’t evaluating your business for vulnerabilities  and educating your employees NOW, your business could be in serious jeopardy of unionization once EFCA passes.

So, what do you lose if you educate your employees and prepare your business systems and the legislation is delayed or changed? The real answer is – NOTHING. You will have positively impacted your business by improving employee engagement and strengthening your processes both of which will go a long way in helping improve your overall business results.

In summary, EFCA, if passed will present an incredible challenge for all non-union organizations. Don’t wait til its too late, prepare and protect your organization today.

Cindy Beresh-Bryant is President, HR Solutions by Design, LLC. She has worked for Fortune 250 and Fortune 500 companies for over 15 years providing innovative HR solutions to some of industries most difficult situations.