Law & Economics Working Papers
The Employer Free Choice Act has had enjoyed strong academic support. but thus far has been stymied by fierce political resistance to its central positions that first institute a card-check for the selection of a union and then requires mandatory arbitration if the parties cannot agree to a new contract within 130 days of union recognition. This articles critiques the arguments made in support of this fundamental revision of labor law offered by Craig Becker, Benjamin Sachs, and Catherine Fisk & Adam Pulver, all of which purport to show that flaws in the current system of collective bargaining need major prounion adjustments. The key theoretical insight of the paper is that no ad hoc justifications for particular changes in the statute can be considered in isolation of the fundamental decision under the National Labor Relations Act to impose a system of mandatory collective bargaining. Once an employer may not refuse to bargain to a union, it must receive in exchange a broad number of offsetting rights, such as the ability to speak during organizing campaigns, and to reject in good faith those offers that it finds unacceptable, as current law provides. EFCA has failed because of the widespread political perception that it would usher in a new wave of union dominance that would destroy job opportunities and create major administrative burdens and political dislocations.
Richard A. Epstein, "One Bridge Too Far: Why the Employee Free Choice Act Has, and Should, Fail" (John M. Olin Program in Law and Economics Working Paper No. 528, 2010).