New Employment Law Alliance Poll Shows Vast Majority Of Americans Uninformed And Unsure About Controversial Labor Legislation
February 19, 2009
75% of those polled in the dark about proposed Employee Free Choice Act
(Syracuse, NY) -- Despite millions of dollars already spent on both sides of the issue, three-quarters of Americans are completely in the dark over the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), a law touted by labor unions and political supporters as a way to increase unionization and improve the lives of middle-class America. And American workers are sharply divided over its merits, according to the latest national poll by the Employment Law Alliance (ELA).
The poll, the 20th survey in ELA's "America At Work" series, sampled 1,288 working men and women across the U.S. They were asked about their awareness of the EFCA, views on its major elements and its potential impact on the workplace and the economy. The poll has an error interval of +/- 2.73% at a 95% level of confidence.
Louis P. DiLorenzo, member of the Employment Law Alliance from New York, also Chair of Bond, Schoeneck & King's Labor, Employment, Employee Benefits and Immigration Group and Managing Partner of its New York City Office, said the results may cause unions and business leaders to reconsider their extensive and expensive outreach efforts. "They should both be concerned that so few Americans are even aware of the EFCA, the most sweeping proposed labor law reform of this generation." He added, "I am not surprised that the average worker is not aware of this bill's far reaching significance for a few reasons. The bill is not about helping employees or employees freely choosing, since they lose their 75 year old right to vote by secret ballot. It's all about the Unions and helping them stop their decline in membership. The Act should be renamed the 'union organizers rejoice act.' The results may also indicate that Americans believe there are far more pressing issues, such as the deepening recession." He summarized the major findings (complete results are available at www.employmentlawalliance.com) in the survey:
- Only one-quarter reported that they were aware of the EFCA.
- Slightly over one-quarter (26%) say they support the EFCA, and nearly as many (24%) oppose it.
- Fewer than one-third (30%) of those surveyed support replacing a secret-ballot election with a "card check" system to determine union representation; 35% were opposed.
- Asked about the use of government-supervised, binding arbitration to settle a contract in the event of a deadlock, 37% favor this while 22% were opposed.
- Gauging a possible "Obama factor," 30% said they were more likely to back the EFCA if the President supported it.
DiLorenzo, whose firm represents employers statewide and nationally, said, "Many of our clients are concerned about the possibility this legislation may become law, so they are putting plans in place right now to educate their employees about union authorization card drives and to urge them to think carefully about whether they support union representation before signing one of those cards. They are taking nothing for granted, including that their employees understand the EFCA, which the poll clearly shows is not the case." DiLorenzo says it is important that employees know how their company and management team feel about this law and unions. Employees should not be held responsible for disappointing management if management has not carefully and lawfully communicated what their view is. The employee is free to disagree, but is entitled to know the company's position.
Dr. Ted Reed, President of reed group, in Philadelphia, and Survey Director for the poll, said the survey may be revealing a disconnection between the perceptions of the EFCA within and outside the Washington Beltway on both sides of the issue. "While the rhetoric has been highly charged, the poll shows only a slight plurality thinks EFCA will improve the standard of living for the middle class. And there was no clear majority that believes EFCA would help turn around the ailing economy, reduce the number of layoffs, or reduce the number of jobs being sent overseas. The strongest sentiment among those polled was toward their lack of awareness and understanding of the EFCA."
About The Employment Law Alliance:
The Employment Law Alliance is the world's largest network of labor and employment lawyers. With specialists in all 50 states and more than 100 countries, the ELA provides multi-state and multi-national companies with seamless and cost-effective services worldwide. For detailed polling information, visit www.employmentlawalliance.com.
Bond, Schoeneck & King, PLLC is a full service law firm, founded in 1897 and has since grown to a firm of 200. The firm operates offices in New York City, Albany, Buffalo, Garden City, Ithaca, Oswego, Rochester, Syracuse and Utica, New York; as well as Overland Park, Kansas; Bonita Springs and Naples, Florida. For a complete list of practice areas and industries served visit the Bond, Schoeneck & King website at www.bsk.com.