• Voters in Arizona, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Utah approved by wide margins amendments to their states’ constitutions that require secret ballot elections in union representation campaigns. The measures were widely seen as attempts to preempt the federal Employee Free Choice Act, which would give workers the option of selecting union representation based on a majority of workers in the bargaining unit signing authorization cards. Although EFCA passed the House in 2007, the most recent version has languished in Congress since it was introduced in 2009, and its prospects for enactment currently are considered nil.
  • Despite heavy union spending on the midterm elections, union-backed candidates and issues generally fared poorly. Forty-one Democratic incumbents who had supported the Employee Free Choice Act lost. In addition, voters in San Diego County, California voted to forbid unions from negotiating project labor agreements on construction projects financed by the county. The unions spending the most money on the midterm elections included the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (approximately $90 million), the National Education Association (approximately $40 million), and the Service Employees International Union (approximately $44 million).
  • A controversial provision that would have made it easier to organize many FedEx Express workers will be dropped from the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill, the incoming chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee said. The provision would have amended the Railway Labor Act to remove coverage of workers of “express carriers,” except for those workers directly involved in air transportation, and placed them under the National Labor Relations Act rules. Absent the amendment, FedEx Express drivers and other workers will continue to be treated as airline workers, who are subject to stricter RLA rules aimed at minimizing transportation industry strikes and lockouts. The incoming committee chairman, John Mica (R-Fla.), said that passing the FAA bill was one of his priorities for early 2011.