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November 12, 2009
AFL-CIO's Trumka Says EFCA Is 'The Best Stall Ever'

Melanie Trottman reports on labor.

The Senate stagnation on the union-backed Employee Free Choice Act - a bill that would make it easier for unions to organize workers - is "the best stall that we've ever" had, said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka today in a wide-ranging interview with The Wall Street Journal.

The reason: "We're going to get health care" done in the meantime.

The labor leader's confidence persists as unions face two of their toughest battles in modern history. They're determined to get a health care bill through Congress that includes a controversial government-run public option to compete with private insurers. The House has already passed such a plan and now the debate moves on to the Senate, where Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said their version of the bill will also include language to create a public option.

Once the health care bill is passed (Trumka is confident it will become law), unions will move immediately to EFCA, a bill they've been forced to push to the back burner while health care dominates the spotlight. Unions say they need the so-called "card check" bill to make sure workers can join unions without employer intimidation. They're also keen on a provision that would allow government arbitrators to quickly settle stalled labor contract disputes.

Business trade groups are prepared to continue fighting the bill which they say would unjustly force contract terms and allow unions to intimidate employees into joining.



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