How Obama Could Fix Labor Law


  • William Gould
Publish Date:
August 29, 2008
Publication Title:, August 29, 2008
Op-Ed or Opinion Piece
  • William B. Gould IV, How Obama Could Fix Labor Law,, August 29, 2008.


Professor William Gould wrote an opinion piece for Slate about the potential impact of the presidential election on the National Labor Relations Act, the principal legal framework for resolving disputes about the forming of unions. Here’s an excerpt:

…Democrats and Republicans (with their respective labor and management allies) are in a standoff about how to remedy the law. That situation is unlikely to change even if the Democratic Party swells its majority somewhat in Congress and recaptures the White House in November. Democrats, with near unanimity, support a bill, sponsored by organized labor and called the Employee Free Choice Act, that would provide for unions to be recognized on the basis of authorization cards signed by employees rather than the secret-ballot elections now provided for by the NLRA. Republicans decry this initiative, arguing that the current elections are sacrosanct. Even assuming Sen. Barack Obama wins the presidency in November, if the Senate remains prey to filibuster with fewer than 60 Democrats, Republicans will be in a position to block the bill from across the aisle from becoming law. The Democrats’ view is preferable to the status quo, but there is a better approach that might occupy bipartisan common ground—an approach for which Obama is well-known, though he hasn’t championed it in this way yet.