As expected there was a flurry of union activity throughout the weekend, where many aspects of organized labor’s legislative priorities were discussed. As this blog noted, the President headed to an AFL-CIO Labor Day picnic in Cincinnati to stump for health care. However, while at the picnic, he gave a fleeting reference to big labor’s highest legislative priority: the job-killing Employee Free Choice Act.
Vice President Biden and Labor Secretary Solis offered support for the legislation at separate events in Pittsburgh and Chicago respectively.
Labor Day pronouncements aside, it’s been a rough year for the labor movement. According to a recent Gallup poll less than half of Americans approve of today’s labor movement. Labor has failed to convince enough Senators to pass their job-killing legislative brass-ring – card check legislation. A column in the Washington Post recently provided an overview of these setbacks. However, this particular piece came from the perspective that our current labor law system is unbalanced – a point that we have disputed and corrected numerous times on this blog.
It appears that organized labor is increasingly frustrated with this lack of action on card check, and they’re failing to speak with a unified voice, according to New York Times articles over the weekend. One piece quotes the likely new head of the AFL-CIO as saying that the President gets a “gets an A for effort, and an incomplete for results.” Despite spending $450 million dollars to elect the current administration, union bosses are facing a considerable amount of friction over the lack of progress. These concerns will likely be addressed when the President speaks at the AFL-CIO’s annual convention in Pittsburgh next week.
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell continued to express his strong opposition to the legislation as a step in the wrong direction and merely an attempt for unions bolster their membership. He also reiterated that every Senate Republican is firm in their opposition to the EFCA.
The NAM highlighted the disconnect between the goals of union bosses and the needs of economy to recover in our annual Labor Day Report. Additionally, we’ve continued to call on members of the Senate to oppose the card check bill in any form with a campaign lead by our Labor Policy Institute in advance of the Labor Day weekend.