In all of the talk about the mid-term elections on November 2, it would be easy to overlook issues that might be more important to the labor professional. Thus, this short list of what to watch for in the elections this week.
- State efforts to limit EFCA. Voters in four states — South Dakota, South Carolina, Arizona, and Utah — will decide on proposed amendments to their state constitutions that would require a secret ballot vote in union elections. These laws are, of course, directed at undermining EFCA, if it were to ever pass. While the legal effect of these laws is questionable — the NLRA usually preempts state law on the same subject — the political effect could be significant. The vote results will be an interesting gauge of popular sentiment about one of the core elements of EFCA: card check.
- Key Senate races. Two in particular stand out: Colorado and West Virginia. In both races, the Democratic candidate has opposed organized labor on EFCA. Michael Bennet in Colorado has said he is opposed to EFCA in its current form. Joe Manchin in West Virginia, who has earned the endorsement of the Chamber of Commerce, has also indicated opposition. However, in both races, unions are spending significant sums to support the Democratic candidate. If they win, EFCA’s proponents could well push for a compromise version of the legislation.
- Union voter turnout. Unions have spent a lot of money in this election cycle. Among other things, that money has gone towards get out the vote efforts in key states and political races. Voter turnout among union households, and the way in which those households vote, will be interesting to watch to determine the effectiveness of this spending.