Controversial legislation that would make it easier to organize unions will pass this year, Vice President Joe Biden said today.

Appearing at a Labor Day rally in Pittsburgh, Biden praised the role of unions in building the middle class and said the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) will make it through Congress before the end of the year, the Associated Press reports.

That's a very optimistic timeline, considering that Democrats are already putting all their legislative muscle behind healthcare reform.

Though the AP didn't quote Biden directly, it seems the vice president referred to the full name of the legislation rather than the familiar shorthand term "card-check." That's actually a big difference. "Card-check" refers to the most controversial part of the legislation, allowing a union to form via a collection of signed cards rather than a secret-ballot election.

If that provision were dropped from EFCA, the legislation would certainly have an easier time making it to the president's desk.

A top AFL-CIO official hinted last week that labor organizations might be willing to compromise on the card-check provision.