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While the country was focused on the war and border security this summer, labor nearly achieved enough momentum to pass the so-called Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), the most sweeping piece of pro-labor reform in a generation. While President George W. Bush would have vetoed that legislation, the Democrats are the odds-on favorites in the race for a new president, and the top candidates are trampling each other for union endorsements. Labor leaders and congressional supporters already have intimated a high priority press for the EFCA and other pro-labor reform following the 2008 election.

But it’s not just the Democrats. “Change to Win,” the spin-off association of powerhouse unions that walked out on the AFL-CIO two years ago, has committed to spread political spending across party lines, and the Republicans are starting to pay attention. In sum, despite having the lowest membership numbers in a half century, labor’s always formidable political influence and ideological appeal is quite possibly at an all-time high.

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