Biden to labor group: We owe you

The Obama administration owes organized labor a lot for its victory in the presidential election, Vice President Biden said Tuesday, and will continue to push for the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) and other union-backed measures.

"Everybody looks back on the election now and says it was a piece of cake," Biden said during a speech before a conference of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). "But let me tell you: You made it cake."

"We Bidens, we owe you," Biden said of the union's support for his political runs and for his son Beau Biden's run for attorney general in Delaware.

Biden said there is "no way" for the administration to work to restore the middle class without strengthening organized labor.

"That's why we need to pass the Employee Free Choice Act," the vice president said. "You know, I think it should be pretty simple. If a union is what you want, then a union is what you should get."

Biden also suggested that as long as the Obama administration has labor's support, the administration will support labor.

"It's simple. Look, I'm taking too much of your time, but here's the deal, folks," Biden told AFSCME conferees. "You know, if we want to achieve our goals, we, the president, and me, this administration, we need to make sure you achieve your goals. It's really that basic."

Labor groups also expressed optimism after religious leaders pushed for EFCA, citing a "moral imperative" for equitable work conditions. The editor of Sojourners Magazine, which puts a Christian perspective on social justice issues, joined an Episcopalian bishop and other religious leaders to push Congress to pass the act, and launch a new website, http://faithforworkplacefairness.org/.

EFCA "continues to lose ground with Senate Democrats because they understand the American people do not support the legislation," Katie Packer of the Workforce Fairness Institute, an anti-EFCA group, responded.