President Reaffirms ‘Plan B’ on Card Check

President Obama met with a family in Fairfax, Va., this afternoon to help sell his economic message, and in a follow-up discussion, he was asked a question about the long-pending Employee Free Choice Act, i.e., “card check.” His response reprised remarks in August when he told the AFL-CIO’s Executive Council that, while his administration will keep “fighting” to pass the bill in the Senate, he has already begun effecting the legislation’s goals through executive agencies and rulemaking, including action by the National Labor Relations Board.

The President’s remarks today again confirm what we’ve forecast for quite some time now: Passing the card check bill has become so difficult that so union leaders and their allies now plan to achieve their goals through executive branch actions. If Congress has to be replaced at the policymaking branch of government, so be it.

We’ll post the transcript of his remarks when it becomes available.

UPDATE: (9/14/10 1:40pm)

The White House has released the transcript of the President’s remarks, which are available here. Here is an excerpt from his response to the question on the status of the Employee Free Choice Act (emphasis ours):

Frankly, we don’t have 60 votes in the Senate. So the opportunity to actually get this passed right now is not real high. What we’ve done instead is try to do as much as we can administratively to make sure that it’s easier for unions to operate and that they’re not being placed at an unfair disadvantage.

The Wall Street Journal recognizes in an editorial today that by failing to enact card check through Congress, labor leaders and their allies that include NLRB Board Member Craig Becker, are seeking to use executive branch resources to give labor leaders the type of labor law changes they seek. Click here  for the editorial and see below for an excerpt:

As Big Labor has realized it won’t get “card check” legislation through Congress, it is turning to its secret weapon inside the Obama Administration—labor lawyer Craig Becker. And as many Senators feared when he was nominated, Mr. Becker is using his position on the National Labor Relations Board to bypass the will of Congress.

President Obama gave Mr. Becker a recess appointment in March after Senate Democrats refused to confirm him to the NLRB, the agency charged with fairly overseeing union elections. As a top lawyer for the Service Employees International Union, Mr. Becker had suggested that the NLRB has the legal authority to impose card check—which eliminates secret ballots in union elections—without the approval of Congress. And lo, at the end of August the NLRB dropped the bombshell, when, in a 3-2 decision, it decided to revisit its important 2007 Dana Corp. ruling.

Keith Smith

Keith Smith

Senior Vice President at National Association of Manufacturers
Keith Smith serves as senior vice president of public affairs and mobilization at the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM). He helps lead the association’s issue advocacy campaigns as well as the NAM’s national grassroots advocacy network.
Keith Smith

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