Card Check: V.P. Biden to Clarify Administration’s Views?

By March 2, 2009Labor Unions

The New York Times reports today on organized labor’s warm, friendly, close, mutual, fine and dandy relations with the Obama Administration, well headlined in a piece, “In Obama, Labor Finds the Support It Expected.” It’s certainly no surprise that Labor Secretary Solis starts her tenure by spending two days at the AFL-CIO Executive Council meeting in Miami and Fort Lauderdale.

The union gathering also brings Vice President Biden to Florida, and the Times reports labor’s expectations the VP will shed light on the Administration’s occluded positioning on the Employee Free Choice Act:

[Mr.] Obama has signaled he will push for legislation that would expand labor’s thinned ranks by making it far easier to unionize workers. Labor leaders expect Vice President Joseph Biden to spell out the administration’s battle plans for the bill on Thursday, when he is scheduled to speak at the A.F.L.-C.I.O.’s winter meeting in Miami Beach.

Just a guess, but we’d be surprised he does anything more than sell the bill’s benefits for the middle-class. Given the faltering support in Congress for card check, strategic ambiguity serves the advocates best.

Addendum: By the way, that’s good, descriptive writing by the Times’ reporter. The journalistic shorthand for the Employee Free Choice Act is frequently, “a bill that would make it easier to form a union.” But that doesn’t really tell the story. Steven Greenhouse adds explanatory motive and a strengthening “far” in his description: “legislation that would expand labor’s thinned ranks by making it far easier to unionize workers.” 

UPDATE (11:20 a.m.): Mickey Kaus finds many reasons to suspect the union guys are indulging in “chearleaderish pro-‘card check’ optimism,” and that the Obama Administration’s support for card check is uncertain. Kaus writes:

[Unions] may effectively win the card check fight–either through a tooth-and-nail battle or a pro-union revision. But unless they are immune to ordinary human anxiety–or have received some private assurance from Obama not reported by Greenhouse–I suspect they have ‘doubts’ and are ‘uneasy.’ As are their opponents. …

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