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Martha M. Hamilton
By Martha M. Hamilton April 20, 2011

Change in control of House probably rules out any chance of passage

This amounts to a promise to continue opposition to a bill that briefly looked as though it might go somewhere in the last Congress. The phrase "card check" refers to a proposed change in how unions win the right to represent workers.

Right now, unions ask workers to sign cards saying they support the union. If they get 30 percent of workers to sign cards, it usually goes to a secret-ballot election. Under the proposed law, if unions get 50 percent of workers to sign cards, the union would win automatically, without a secret-ballot election.

The effort in the last Congress to pass this legislation crumbled, however.

"We had the votes in the House, but we couldn't get the 60 votes we needed in the Senate," said Bill Samuels, legislative director for the AFL-CIO. The bill died at the end of the last Congress and faces overwhelming odds now that Republicans control one chamber. "It's highly unlikely with a Republican House," said Samuels of the bill's prospects.

"Don't attribute it to the president," Samuels said of the bill's failure to move forward. It was the Senate that doomed the bill's chances, he said. "It's highly unlikely with a Republican House," he said of the bill's prospects.

"EFCA has not been introduced in this Congress and even if it were, it would not be brought up in either the House or the Senate. Even if it were brought up, it would not have the votes to pass in either the House or the Senate," said Mike Eastman, executive director of labor policy for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Given that, opposing card check probably won't require much effort by the Republican leadership. By taking control of the House, they effectively rendered the issue moot. Promise Kept.

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