It's 2010 or bust for labor-backed "card check" legislation, a top union's president said this week.
SEIU President Andy Stern said during an panel discussion with Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) and the Wall Street Journal that the next year will present a test for Democrats, and whether or not they can seize on their 60-vote majority in the Senate and pass the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA).
"The Democrats really have a historic and decisive moment, for anybody who runs a business there are moments where you sort of make big choices," Stern told the audience. "They have 60 votes for the first time and probably the last time they're gonna have it. They have to decide if they are an army of one or an army of 60."
Labor groups have been pushing for Democrats to move on EFCA all year, though the union organizing bill has taken a back seat in the meanwhile to efforts to reform the U.S. healthcare system.
Optimism had risen that a potential compromise could be reached after Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) said several months ago that he would support cloture on a compromise bill after having previously been opposed to it.
Stern said that card check would be a testing ground for the Democrats in 2010, and "a question of whether the Democrats can act as a functioning, effective team."
The SEIU chief seemed less than optimistic about the party's ability to pull together to support the legislation, though.
"They just have to decide, if not I think they're going to miss a historic moment that won't come back for a very long time," Stern said. "And so far I wouldn't bet with them."