Increased Sewer/Water Funding Headlines Many Changes In Washington

Economic Stimulus, Trust Fund, Environment & Unions Highlight Many New Directions of Obama Administration
By Stephen Barlas, Washington Editor | February 2009 Vol. 64 No.2
The U.S. Capitol Building.

Like environmentalists, labor unions will also have new clout, and their first item of business is getting Congress to pass “card check” legislation--formally called the Employee Free Choice Act--which President Obama has said he would sign. President George W. Bush threatened to veto the bill in the last session after it passed the House. The Senate never passed that legislation, which allows the National Labor Relations Board to certify a union if it is presented with signed authorization cards from a majority of employees the union is seeking to organize. This would help eliminate the long standing National Labor Relations Act requirement for federally supervised secret ballots in union elections. Stephen E. Sandherr, chief executive officer of Associated General Contractors of America, says the card check bill is a poor way to gauge the employees’ true preferences. “The status quo, which allows both card check and secret ballot elections, remains the fairest way to make this determination,” he explains.