In the latest policy paper from the American Enterprise Institute, the calculators have been pulled out, and the potential damage to the US economy created by the implementation of the Employee Free Choice Act has been tallied. To quote the paper:

If the EFCA returns unionization rates to 1970s levels, it could reduce economy- wide employment and gross domestic product by close to 4 percent. This translates to about 4.5 million jobs lost and over $500 billion in lost output and income. Job loss resulting from EFCA will tend to fall disproportionately on workers with relatively low levels of education and skills. Ironically, these are the very workers the proposed legislation is intended to help.

Even though the original bill will most likely not see the light of day as a single intact piece of legislation, the NRLB has begun to indicate in recent decisions that it is likely to incorporate much of the bill via rule-making. Trumka and other labor leaders have not given up hope that the main provisions of the EFCA could be incorporated into some other piece of legislation, making the changes to labor laws more permanent. Said Trumka, “Anything we can get it attached to. There are multitudes of things we can get it attached to, and we will. We will get it done and it will be a good thing for the country.”

In a seemingly out-of-character move for a government agency, the board has even begun to publicize via press releases the results of union elections, attempting to flavor the media exposure of such activity. The entire orientation of the Department of Labor is moving in a new direction. As is evidenced by the recent announcement that it will discontinue providing Opinion Letters, the DOL is focusing on enforcement and prosecution of “violations,” rather than being a helpful resource to businesses attempting to navigate the swampland of government regulation.

Beyond the DOL, the entire administration is tilted in favor of unions, and it seems that it is using almost every piece of legislation being discussed to contribute to the Big Labor cause. The latest example comes from the “financial reform” bill winding its way through Congress. As washingtontimes.com states:

The end result will be a highly politicized process. Just look at how Mr. Dodd’s legislation gives the Securities and Exchange Commission the power to force names of outside nominees onto the corporate ballot for board of director positions. If there’s any doubt that such provisions are specifically designed to empower unions, one need only look to the way bondholder assets at General Motors and Chrysler were given to organized labor.

It doesn’t look like Big Labor will repeat the mistake it made during the first half or so of 2009, when it sat on its hands waiting for legislative help in organizing. The Communications Workers and the Electrical Workers are cranking up their door-to-door organizing routine, recently capturing a rare win at Comcast.