Mandatory card check checked — for now

As expected, cloture for the misleadingly, grotesquely, misleadingly named (hey, I’ve gotta get these descriptions of this bill’s disgustinlgy Orwellian moniker out of my system until the next Congress) Employee Free Choice Act, which would have required the National Labor Relations Board to allow card-check organizing whenever a union requested it, failed today on a party-line vote, 51-48 (with Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania the lone Republican voting for cloture). Under card-check, a union requires only to get over 50 percent of workers to sign union cards — in public, exposing them to the kind of high-pressure tactics from that a secret ballot protects against..

While the preservation of the secret ballot in organizing election is good news, union bosses aren’t about to just roll over. They’ll be back to try to get future Congresses to pass a similar bill — with private sector union membership in steep decline, they hope to revive union fortunes by getting the sanction of law to rope more workers into unions through card check. And because union endorsements and support are essential to Democratic politicians’ electoral success, watch the Democratic presidential hopefuls try to outbid each other over who can endorse a new card check bill the loudest.