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CEA Says No To Employee Free Choice Act

3/10/2009 01:31:00 PM Eastern

Arlington, Va. — Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) and the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) today both voiced opposition to the Employee Free Choice Act.

In his statement president /CEO Gary Shapiro said, “On behalf of the high-tech industry, I strongly urge members of Congress not to sponsor this controversial and problematic legislation that would not only take away a fundamental American right, the secret ballot, but also harm our nation’s competiveness at the worst possible time.”

The Employee Free Choice Act is proposed legislation to change the National Labor Relations Act to make it easier for employees to form, join or help labor unions. Reportedly employees could form labor unions and without a direct election if the majority of workers sign a “card check” to approve the union.

Shapiro went on to say, “Our nation needs a robust and vibrant high tech industry. American technology companies need flexibility to innovate, rather than an environment with artificially higher wages, fewer jobs and less innovation. In today’s economy, it is unimaginable that we would deliberately enact a policy that would harm innovation and push manufacturing overseas.”

He added, “During these economic times, our government should focus on measures that allow American businesses to grow jobs and enhance innovation.”

The RILA said in its statement that the proposed legislation would effectively eliminate a worker’s right to a secret ballot and force employees and managers to accept contract terms set by a federally appointed arbitrator. Under this proposal, workers would also be denied the opportunity to ratify or decline the contracts imposed by arbitrators, a right guaranteed under current law.

“RILA supports American worker’s existing right to organize unions in the workplace,” said RILA president Sandy Kennedy.   “This proposal removes essential protections provided under existing law and puts the will of a federally-appointed arbitrator ahead of the wishes of impacted employees and managers when negotiating wages, benefits and other contract terms.”

A recently released non partisan economic impact study quantifies the impact the Employee Free Choice Act would have on the U.S. Economy. The study’s author, economist Dr. Anne Layne-Farrar, concluded, “The unintended consequences of passing EFCA are likely to be significant. Increased unemployment and reduced labor supply are very high prices to pay during any time, but especially during a recession. The empirical results presented in this paper therefore recommend against passing EFCA.”

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