President Barack Obama's nominee for Secretary of Labor, Hilda Solis, is set to be confirmed by the Senate a week from Tuesday.
In the meantime, some of the heaviest hitters in the labor community are ramping up efforts to push their top legislative priorities.
A source at the AFL-CIO writes in to lay out the week ahead, which includes a new report from the Center for American Progress on the benefits of unionization and local and national campaigns for the passage of the Employee Free Choice Act.
"Three main take-a-ways from this," the source writes:
- The Employee Free Choice Act is part of the solution to fixing our economic problems. As the [Center for American Progress] reports will show, when workers have the right to join a union it benefits the overall economy and grows the middle class.
- The grassroots field campaign of the unions continues to be gradually ratcheted up. Demonstrates the grassroots reach that we have as we will be holding events in 16 states.
- The state-based events are being done in complete coordination between AFL-CIO, Change to Win, and SEIU, who will be working in total coordination to pass the Employee Free Choice Act.
The idea, it seems, is to grease the legislative wheels for EFCA for when Solis is ultimately confirmed and Al Franken actually gets to the Senate (if he ever does). When those two settle in, Senate Democrats should have the numbers to at least bring the bill to a vote. But part of the process will involve picking off a like-minded Republican or two; another part will be ensuring that no Senate Democrat defects. You can get a sense of just which lawmakers the unions are targeting by looking at the states in which they will be holding events this upcoming week.
The list, as the source writes, includes: Alaska, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Arkansas, Virginia, California, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Florida, Louisiana, Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, and North Carolina.