Perhaps getting a better read on political reality than many of their colleagues in the labor movement, SEIU President Andy Stern and Change To Win Chair Anna Burger told the WaPo‘s editorial board that labor may need to look for reform opportunities which do not include card-check recognition. A few of the potential elements mentioned by Mr. Stern were covered in MLA’s white paper "The Employee Free Choice Act in the 111th Congress." From WaPo’s 44 blog:

Speaking to The Post’s editorial board, Stern noted that there are ways to try to level the playing field in union elections without giving workers a way around the secret ballot requirement, such as shortening the window before elections are held — thus giving employers less time to pressure workers — and stiffening penalties for employer violations.

"We are on the hunt for a solution," he said. "No matter what you do, you have to change the election process. Whether it’s majority sign up or not, workers have to have a choice about having an election. The bill has to address … fast elections, eliminating employer behavior and what happens if there are employer violations. Regardless, that needs to be done."

Mr. Stern, who is widely regarded as one of the most influential people in the labor movement, seems to recognize President Obama’s lack of enthusiasm for advancing the legislative battle over EFCA at this point in time. Yet:

…he believes that unions must get behind some other substantive reform, instead of waiting until 2011 in hopes of a bigger Democratic majority after the next election. "We need to get something that’s significant done," he said.