Employee Free Choice Act: We’ve Got a PR Problem On Our Hands…

Jessica Lee Culture, Engagement and Satisfaction, Jessica Lee

So last week, I'm over at the SHRM Employment Law and Legislative Conference that was held in DC. Zzzzz. Boring, I know. Normally, I'm not into the wonky HR issues that drive some of our work but with everything that HR folks are confronted with, given the new administration, economic crises and advances in technology, I went diligently to check out the scene. And this is the kind of conference it was:

"Did you know that the FMLA stands for the Friday and Monday Leave Act?"

Roaring laughter ensued. And only in a room full of HR people would this joke get a laugh. But hey, it's the only way to jazz up topics like compliance with the revised regulations on FMLA and ADA. Ahhhh… the glamor of being an HR pro. I know. This is as sexy as it gets.

Here was an interesting bitty during the conference though. The keynote speaker was former Congressman Harold Ford Jr. who now chairs the Democratic Leadership Council – and I felt a bit confused by the pick. Awesome speaker, seemingly authentic fellow, but he chairs an organization that supports the Employee Free Choice Act which SHRM has stated they are not in support of. A bit of a dichotomy, no? But thankfully, before I could put my little hand up and ask a question, another attendee asked him about his opinion of the EFCA. Bam! I thought for sure we'd see some action at this point in the conference – something at least better than FMLA jokes. And without skipping a beat, Ford responded that he has some hesitations about it since he doesn't see how it will support job creation but quickly admitted that the DLC is in support of it. Okay, not so bad, I thought.

And then he hit me with something more. "If you're against EFCA, then you need to do a better job of talking about it. The unions and everyone else in support of it – you see their ads everywhere. They've got the PR game down. You're going to need to work on your PR and advertising around your stance on the issue."

Ouch. OUCH. Does that hurt anyone else? Anyone? (And SHRM – did you hear that? Read: take the ad dollars from the HR is so wow campaign and pour it into EFCA efforts. Now. Please. No more CNN ads.) To be clear, a la the HR Capitalist, Fistful of Talent isn't a political site. But, we have opinions, and we write on relevant topics. And with a battle brewing on the EFCA and the bill being reintroduced into Congress last week, we have to talk about it. Good rundowns exist here, here and here… Back to the point though. Do you have thoughts on EFCA? Want to do something about it? Well then, it's time to get involved. A starting point would be to sign a petition along with hundreds of thousands of others to say you're not in support of it.Or you could write your elected official and share your opinion. Or you can hit us up in the comments and we'll find another way for you to get involved within the HR community specifically. After all, Harold Ford Jr. said so.