Foreshadowing the pro-labor/pro-employee legislative agenda that many are predicting for 2009 and beyond, last week the Democrats in the House of Representatives introduced into the "American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009" stimulus bill a host of pro-labor/pro-employee provisions. Specifically, Title IX of the bill allocates $80 million for the oversight and enforcement of "worker protection laws and regulations." The bill also grants the Secretary of Labor the authority to transfer monies to the Employment and Standards Administration as well as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for "enforcement, oversight, and coordina tion activities" of "worker protection laws and regulations." The bill has been forwarded to House committees for review and possible revision.

As Congress and the Obama Administration are expected take a much more pro-labor/pro-employee approach to employment relations than that followed by the Bush Administration, employers are encouraged to work with their counsel now to put themselves in the best position to handle what are expected to be the most dramatic changes in labor and employment laws in decades.