Delays in the confirmation of L.A. Democrat Hilda Solis, D-El Monte, as President Barack Obama’s Labor secretary preview what will be an epic struggle between labor and business in the coming year. Sen. Mike Enzi of Wyoming, ranking Republican on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, has delayed the Solis nomination with parliamentary procedures. Enzi and other Republicans cite the Labor Secretary designate’s support for the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) as the the primary concern about the Solis nomination. Supported by both Solis and Obama, EFCA, also known as the “card check” bill, would allow allow workers to unionize when a majority sign cards instead of holding secret ballots.
The delays around the Solis nomination represent a first skirmish in big business’ multi-million dollar campaign to stop passage of EFCA. This article by my friend, Esther Kaplan, in the Nation magazine lays out nicely the coming war around EFCA. While most expect the Solis nomination to pass, we should be vigilant about the GOP – and Obama operatives like Rahm Emmanuel. Some believe that, despite expressing support for EFCA, Emmanuel may delay debate around the historic bill until after the 2010 Congressional election, a move many in labor are none too happy about. More to come about this important issue.