Labor leader says 'card check' will wait until after healthcare

A top labor official said Monday that President Obama and White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel have indicated that they will not bring up "card check" legislation until after healthcare reform is done in Congress.

AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Richard Trumka, the expected incoming president of the influential union, pledged during a web chat on the liberal blog firedoglake that organized labor would work to pass healthcare reform in order to move onto one of its top priorities, the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA).

"The President/and Emanuel have both said they dont intend to bring Employee Free Choice Act up until Health Insurance Reform is done," Trumka wrote on the blog. "Which gives us an additional reason to do Health Insurance Reform now!"

The remarks all but acknowledge that EFCA, one of labor's most prized legislative goals, will take a backseat to the Obama administration's most pressing priority for the meanwhile.

Obama has endorsed the union organizing bill, though he and other senior administration officials have spoken about it much less in public as centrist Democrats in the Senate have been reluctant to fully back the bill.

Republicans, for the most part, have opposed the bill as a threat to businesses.

Trumka also sent a message to allies in the White House and Congress that they expected eventual movement on EFCA, and that it could not be put off indefinitely.

"We WILL PASS EMPLOYEE FREE CHOICE ACT legislation, we will not allow our