As reported earlier in the Stoel Rives World of Employment, the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) will be a high priority for Congress and President-Elect Obama in 2009.  The EFCA would be the most wide-ranging revision to federal labor law in 50 years. It would, among other things, require employers to recognize a union as the exclusive bargaining agent for its employees based solely on a "card check" process rather than a secret ballot election. If passed, it is expected to drastically increase union organizing and unionization rates.

Two things prevented EFCA from passing into law back in in 2007 – an almost certain veto from President Bush, plus opposition from the Republican minority in the United States Senate.  51 Senators voted for cloture on EFCA – 50 Democrats (all except one who was absent) plus Pennsylvania’s Arlen Specter; however, 60 votes are needed to end debate and bring the bill to a vote.  Now that the Democrats appear on the cusp of controlling 59 Senate seats, assuming Arlen Specter maintains his support for EFCA, there’s nothing to stop the bill from passing, right?

Not so fast, warns‘s Nate Silver.  Arkansas Democrat Blanche Lincoln has now indicated that she’s not so keen on EFCA and might vote no.  Her no vote would leave the Democrats one vote short of stopping a Republican filibuster.  Click here to read the rest of Nate Silver’s fascinating analysis of EFCA in the Senate.  And don’t forget to keep following the Stoel Rives World of Employment for more EFCA updates.