Split federal gov't may not mean total gridlock
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The first two years of the Obama administration have been presented as a failure for the labor movement by some. The biggest legislative initiative sought in Congress--the Employee Free Choice Act--never had any momentum and virtually disappeared from policy discussions. The stimulus package morphed from an aggressive jobs-creating effort to a defensive stop-gap to save state and local budgets and provide tax cuts to assist struggling companies or investors. The grand finale was said to be the 2010 elections, where Republicans swept to a majority in the House of Representatives, weakened the Democratic majority in the Senate and started calling for President Obama to compromise more and move his agenda to the right.

On some issues, the administration has and may continue to do that. But on labor issues, they haven't retreated as much as changed tactics and strategies. Obama himself has continued to support unions publicly and has a Secretary of Labor who's mission has been to do more for workers without new laws.

In the Washington Post today, Seth Borden takes another look at how the administration is working with existing laws--and the power of the Executive Branch--to help workers in a way Republicans can't block them.