As they point out, President Obama put together a winning coalition of techies, anti-war activists, women, labor unions, young voters and the like. His downside - everybody on that list is now looking for not only payback, but priority.
- Labor organizations spent more than $450 million to send and other Democrats to Washington.
- The AFL-CIO alone has compiled a 64-page list entitled the "AFL-CIO Recommendations for the Obama Administration.
Their top priority -- besides jobs in the stimulus package - is the Employee Free Choice Act. It would enable employees to form a union as soon as a majority signed cards saying they wanted one. The Service Employees International Union, the nation's largest labor union, will spend $10 million to support such legislation. Various employer groups are lining up against it.
But would Obama be risking too much political capital early in his term
on a politically partisan issue that could galvanize - and revive - conservatives?
"The Obama transition team absolutely has not communicated that to us," said Thea Lee, policy director for the AFL-CIO.
Some of labor's other top wishes:
- Health care reform.
- Extend unemployment benefits.
- Increase financing for food stamps.
- Change Bush administration policies on government contract work, worker
safety and training to be fairer to workers.