President Obama met with the National Labor Coordinating Committee today, a body formed in April to present a unified front on labor issues.
The labor movement has been divided since 2005, when labor coalition Change to Win split from the AFL-CIO, though it's been speculated that the new group, chaired by former Rep. David Bonior, would help facilitate a reunification.
Today, though, the group says it talked to Obama about labor's legislative agenda, which includes health care and the Employee Free Choice Act, a bill that would prevent employers from requiring secret-ballot elections to form unions, increase penalties for businesses that delay the union-forming process, and mandate that businesses agree to a first contract for new unions. (It's the top goal for labor now that Obama is in the White House; a business lobbyist described the ensuing lobbying/public opinion war as "Armageddon"; both sides have launched advertising campaigns on the bill.)
"We spoke with a unified voice today to the President as we discussed progress on issues that are so important to working families, including the 16 million working Americans in our unions," the group said in a statement released this afternoon.
Labor backed Obama during the 2008 presidential race, though some voters questioned his allegiance to labor's policies on trade, as his position on NAFTA was attacked during the primary, particularly after a reported campaign memo to a Canadian official warning not to take his anti-NAFTA campaign rhetoric seriously. Labor rallied around Obama during the general election, using its war chests to back his victory.