This is one of those stories that’s been dribbling out -drip, drip, drip. Maybe it’s n ot quite over yet, but it feels like it.
Remember card check, aka The Employee Free Choice Act, the passage of which, during the 2008 campaign was organized labor’s top priority (and the defeat of which was organized big business’ top priority)?
Apparently it’s going down. My good buddy Tom Hamburger has the story in this a.m.’s L.A. Times.
Card check, in case the term has escaped you, was a way to make it easier for a union to organize a shop by removing the power of the employer to demand a secret ballot election. If a majority of the bargaining unit signed (or “checked) a card indicating they wanted the union to represent them (and if the workers themselves didn’t ask for an election), the shop would be organized.
I’ve never had a gut feeling for why this would make such a big difference, but the big unions believed fervently that card check was something they needed to reverse their long slide. They did everything they could to produce a Congress and a White House that favored the idea.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerice and other employer groups organized to stop the bill, which included airing ads like this one about candidates who favored EFCA.
It seems that labor pretty much was on the winning side in the election. And there were pieces written about how once Al Franken got seated in the Senate, he would provide the last vote needed to overcome a filibuster and put EFCA through. But now that it’s top priority collection time, EFCA is apparently not a happening thing.
Buddy Hamburger couldn’t quite bring himself to say it was over for EFCA, but no Repubs are for it and there are now at least three Senate Dems (counting Arlen Specter) who are against it or looking for alternatives to the card-check provision. Tom’s piece provides insight into how the business lobby overcame its various election defeats and will apparently still win its top priority.