If you think the battle between big business and labor unions is only focused on the long-running battle over card check, think again.
For more than a year, business interests and unions have exchanged barbs and fought for public opinion at the national, state and local levels on the Employee Free Choice Act, which would allow unions to organize more easily.
While political candidates, notably Senate hopeful Bill Halter, contend that "card check is dead," rhetoric from national leaders would indicate otherwise.
On Tuesday, national AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka told The Hill that his group was looking for legislation to attach a card check amendment.
One victory that has eluded the AFL-CIO so far is seeing the Employee Free Choice Act signed into law. Unions have struggled to find the 60 votes in the Senate to move the stand-alone bill, and discussions have moved to attaching it to another piece of legislation.
"Anything we can get it attached to. There are multitudes of things we can get it attached to, and we will. We will get it done and it will be a good thing for the country," Trumka said in the interview.
Bill Simmons writes in today’s Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that Sen. Mark Pryor, who was once involved in negotiations to soften the EFCA measure, says his group has not worked on a compromise since June 2009 and that card check was not "off the table."
But EFCA is not the only war front open between business and labor. Buried deep in the recently debated Wall Street reform bill, which encompasses Sen. Blanche Lincoln’s derivatives regulations, union-friendly language has been inserted that could affect corporate board structures.
Politico analyzes the topic today:
Buried deep in the Democrats’ Senate bill are two major changes to how board members are elected — both designed to crack open the insular world of corporate boardrooms and make them more responsive to shareholders.
One provision would essentially give the Securities and Exchange Commission the power to force the names of outside nominees onto the corporate ballot. Right now, corporations can print up the ballots — and leave off the other names.
Such a change could give large, long-term investors — such as the pension funds that fund union members’ retirements — a better shot to get elected to the boards.
The other change would require directors running in an uncontested election to win a majority of votes cast. Currently, most directors need to win only a plurality, which has resulted in directors losing the majority vote but still winning the seat.
Look for these business-union battles to surface in the upcoming days, weeks and months, especially in our hotly contested federal races. You can read more on the subject at this link.