Labor Pains: Because Being in a Union can be Painful

Will history repeat itself?

It’s Friday, and as we look back over the last week, I figured now was a better time than ever to bring up the Labor Reform Act of 1978 (LRA). The LRA was the Employee Free Choice Act of its time—and with a more accurate name. It made sweeping changes to the National Labor Relations Act to favor labor unions, including implementing “card check” unionizing. After a long, hard fight in the Senate, the bill failed. TIME magazine rehashed the fight in its July 3, 1978 issues, which is oddly online (who knew TIME/AOL was so far ahead of it’s time?):

The nation’s labor unions have been dwindling in recent years in both membership and political clout. But they mustered all the lobbying power they could behind the Labor Reform Act of 1978. Pressured by AFL-CIO Boss George Meany, President Carter gave the bill forceful, if not all-out, support. But businessmen, large and small, rallied strong opposition, arguing that the bill would put them at a disadvantage with Big Labor and lead to a wave of organizing, particularly in the South, where unions have been weak. Last week, after the bill had been stalled for 19 days by a filibuster, labor’s forces suddenly lost, at least for now, in a showdown on the Senate floor.

… at least for now. Fast forward 30 years, and labor is set to make the same all-out effort to pass the deceptively-named Employee Free Choice Act. Here’s a video I caught in which an SEIU political analyst explains their strategy for 2009:

Categories: Center for Union FactsEFACEnding Secret Ballots