AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, who previewed his labor federations legislative agenda for the 112th Congress, said he would fight efforts to extend the President George W. Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy. Trumka also plans to fight spending cuts proposed by the federal deficit commission.
The lobbying has been focused not just on Capitol Hill, but also on federal agencies. Those agencies could be particularly important if there is gridlock in Congress, according to labor officials. Labor groups have been paying close attention to agencies such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the National Labor Relations Board, which have become more aggressive under Obama.
Earlier this year, Obama rewarded organized labor by making a recess appointment of Craig Becker to the NLRB. Becker’s Senate confirmation had been held up by Republicans who criticized him for being a union activist.
But even as they keep an eye on the regulatory process, union officials said they will not ignore what the new Congress is doing.
“We are going to be as aggressive as we can on Capitol Hill,” said Bill Samuel, the AFL-CIO’s legislative director.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.