The unions’ campaign to pass the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), also known as card check, came to an inglorious end in 2010, most symbolically perhaps when the AFL-CIO took down its EFCA banner
on April 29 of that year. In Washington, DC, however, bad ideas seldom stay dead forever. In reading the Democratic Party’s 2012 platform
, one finds this language:
“We will fight for labor laws that provide a fair process for workers to choose union representation, that facilitate the collective bargaining process, and that strengthen remedies for violations of the law.”
This language mirrors that used to describe EFCA during the fight over card check. In fact, then-Senator Obama said the following with regard to EFCA during Senate consideration of the bill in 2007:
“I support this bill because in order to restore a sense of shared prosperity and security, we need to help working Americans exercise their right to organize under a fair and free process and bargain for their fair share of the wealth our country creates.
“It increases penalties to discourage employers from punishing workers trying to organize their colleagues, and it encourages both sides to negotiate the first contract in good faith by sending stalemates to binding arbitration.” (emphasis added) (Congressional Record, 6/26/07, pages S. 8390-8391)
It would certainly be a long shot to pass anything resembling card check in the current political environment, and platform documents don’t always indicate what politicians will do in office. But the Democrats’ 2012 platform language clearly illustrates that the proponents of card check haven’t given up and may make another run at it should the opportunity arise.