The Wall Street Journal’s Kris Maher and other sources report that Vice President Joe Biden told attendees of the AFL-CIO annual winter meeting that there is still hope for the Employee Free Choice Act and a union-friendly National Labor Relations Board.
“I know it doesn’t seem like it, but we’ve come a long way in 12 months,” Biden told several hundred union officials. “In terms of the NLRB, we’re going to get it done. In the fight for EFCA, we’ve got to sit down and figure out where we go from here…. I think we’re going to get it done.
Reporting on the same speech, Michelle Amber of the BNA Daily Labor Report (subscription required), writes that the Vice President acknowledged that there was some disappointment among labor leaders. But he described the friction as “tactical differences."
Biden said the administration has not gotten “it done in terms of the NLRB,” adding, “but we are going to get it done.” Biden, however, did not elaborate.
Regarding EFCA, Ms. Amber notes that Vice President Biden told the group that the administration needs “’to figure out a strategy’ on how to get it passed.”
Mr. Biden’s audience was reportedly less enthusiastic than it was a year ago. According to Mr. Maher:
Ahead of this year’s meeting, some union presidents suggested the mood would be more contentious once union leaders had a chance to question the vice president in a closed-door session.
“I think they owe some answers this time,” said Thomas Buffenbarger, president of the International Association of Machinists. “There’s always something that crops up and gets in the way of labor’s agenda.”
Despite the friction, labor leaders were apparently still supportive of the administration. From the WSJ:
“The labor movement is a long way from throwing the president under the bus,” said John Gage, president of the American Federation of Government Employees. “I think we had exaggerated hopes for the Obama administration, and people are taking an objective look at where we are.”