Senator-elect Joe Manchin, who will fill the remaining two years of Senator Robert Byrd’s term, can be expected to oppose most of the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) based on an interview with the Wheeling newspaper.
Manchin specifically stated, “We must retain the secrecy of the ballot.” Regarding contract arbitration, Manchin stated that “the government has no right to be involved in contractual disputes . . . that’s why you have collective bargaining.” Elaborating, Manchin further stated, “You sit down and work your contract out. Government should not be involved.”
The only area where Manchin might be open to change seemingly relates to the time consumed by employer challenges to a certification. On that topic, he opined that the issue “just drags on forever through court appeals and cases.” Precisely what changes Manchin might be agreeable to is difficult to predict; but it should be noted that he was elected with the support of both labor and business.
West Virginia also has a new Republican congressman, David McKinley. Since he is a conservative businessman, I would expect him to reject changes called for in EFCA.
Robert Steptoe is a partner with Steptoe & Johnson PLLC in the firm’s Clarksburg office, which writes and edits West Virginia Employment Law Letter. He can be reached at (304) 624-8151.