Card Check: Don’t Get Too Excited by Obama Nuances

By January 16, 2009Labor Unions

Cleveland attorney Peter Kirsanow, a former member of the National Labor Relations Board, reads the Washington Post editorial based on yesterday’s visit by President-elect Barack Obama and finds his comments on the Employee Free Choice Act not that reassuring…at all.

From “Employee Free Choice Act—Current State of Play“”

While Congress may try to accommodate Obama by not raising this contentious issue early in his administration, Democrats in Congress are under considerable pressure to take up EFCA as soon as possible. Just a few days ago, one union alone (the Service Employees International Union) announced that it was committing $50 million toward, among other things, passage of EFCA.

Unions understand that the planets won’t align for them like this again. This may be their last best opportunity to reverse the steep decline in private sector union membership. They’ve spent extraordinary resources in support of candidates favorable to the labor agenda and they’re lobbying Congress furiously to get EFCA passed. They won’t back down.

Now, Obama’s “willingness to consider other mechanisms” may indicate that some of the amendments to EFCA I’ve discussed previously might be in play. But even those amendments would radically change the labor landscape in a way that will present profound challenges to employers. Consequently, most alert employers are continuing to both make preparations for EFCA’s passage and lobby senators (Republicans and right-to-work/red-state Democrats) to defeat it.

EFCA is the proverbial freight train coming down the tracks. It may have slowed momentarily, but if employers don’t work incessantly to halt it, it will have a big impact at the first junction or the next.

Marc Ambinder at The Atlantic posts excerpts of the Obama-Post transcript, and in our reading he does seem more favorable to EFCA than we got from the Post’s interpretation. He seems to dismiss business’ argument that card check would harm the economy out of hand.

Kirsanow is a guest this week on America’s Business with Mike Hambrick, talking about card check. (The program will be up this afternoon.) He’s really kept up a steady stream of high-quality commentary on EFCA and labor’s agenda at The Corner, including “Laboring under Obama.”

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