The morning after the cloture vote failed on the nomination of Craig Becker to the National Labor Relations Board, harsh observations regarding EFCA’s prospects from Washington Post columnist Harold Meyerson: "Under Obama, labor should have made more progress". Calling the Obama administration’s first year an "unmitigated disaster" for labor, Meyerson writes:
For the unions, the Senate’s inability to pass EFCA is devastating and galling. Democratic senators had developed a compromise proposal that would have jettisoned the controversial "card check" process — by which unions could be organized without a secret ballot — in favor of expediting the election process (so that management couldn’t delay for months, or even years, employees’ votes on whether to unionize) and stiffening the penalties for violating the rules that govern election conduct.
The compromise had a shot at winning all 60 Democratic votes. The unions, which spent more than $300 million in the 2008 elections on Democrats’ behalf, wanted a vote on EFCA last year, but Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid asked them to wait until health reform had passed. (Their requests for confirmation votes on NLRB appointees were similarly delayed.)
By my count, this marks the fourth time in the past half-century that labor’s efforts to strengthen workers’ ability to organize have been deferred by the Democratic presidents and the heavily Democratic Congresses they supported. In 1965, about the only piece of Great Society legislation not enacted was the repeal of the Taft-Hartley Act provision that gave states the power to block unions from claiming as members all the employees in workplaces where they had won contracts. In 1979, as American management was beginning to invest heavily in union-busting endeavors, the first effort to reform labor law failed to win cloture in the Senate by one vote as President Jimmy Carter stood idly by. In 1994, President Bill Clinton responded to a similar labor-backed effort by appointing a commission to recommend changes in labor law to the next Congress — which turned out to be run by Newt Gingrich. And last year, by asking his labor supporters to wait, Obama ensured — unintentionally, of course — that the next effort to revive organizing must wait until the next overwhelmingly Democratic Congress.
With the recess appointment of Becker still a viable option for the White House, the President’s ability to issue Executive Orders, and the possibility of additional discussions regarding an alternative EFCA bill, it certainly might not yet be as final as that.