The Trail: A Daily Diary of Campaign 2008


House of Labor

Labor Advocate to Join Biden's Middle Class Task Force

By Alec MacGillis
Organized labor has had trouble rallying support for its legislative priority, the Employee Free Choice Act, but it can least take heart that it will have another of its own arguing its case within the Obama administration.

The White House announced today that Mary Beth Maxwell, director of the pro-labor advocacy group American Rights at Work, is leaving that organization to become a senior adviser to the middle-class task force being headed up by Vice President Biden.

Maxwell, a Nebraska native who previously worked as a deputy field director for NARAL, was said to be on the short list for labor secretary. The position ultimately went to Hilda Solis, a California congresswoman who was on the board of American Rights at Work.

As director of American Rights at Work, which was founded in 2003, Maxwell has been at the forefront of promoting the Employee Free Choice Act. The bill would make it easier for workers to organize by allowing unions to form after a majority of workers signed pro-union cards; as it stands, employers can require secret ballot elections. The organization, which gets funding from unions and pro-labor donors, has spent heavily on ads for TV, radio and newspapers pushing the legislation. But the bill has stalled for the time being as its supporters struggle to find 60 votes in the Senate to overcome a filibuster.

With Maxwell's departure, the group will be led by David Bonior, the former Michigan congressman who recently returned to the post of the organization's president, and by its deputy director, Kimberly Freeman. It is unclear just what Maxwell's role with the task force will be.

Posted at 4:03 PM ET on Apr 24, 2009  | Category:  House of Labor
Share This: Technorati talk bubble Technorati | Tag in | Digg This
Previous: Obama Spotlights Student Loan Reform | Next: At the White House, Lobbyists Complain of Restrictions

Add 44 to Your Site
Be the first to know when there's a new installment of The Trail. This widget is easy to add to your Web site, and it will update every time there's a new entry on The Trail.
Get This Widget >>


Please email us to report offensive comments.

So this is what Biden is doing these days. It has been my impression that he is kind of out the loop in the administration.

Years ago I saw a TV adaptation of the musical, "Of Thee I Sing." Carroll O'Connor of "All in the Family" fame played the president.

The vice-president's name was Alexander Throttlebottom and he was an inept and irrelevant. To give you an idea of what type of character he was; he was played by Art Carney (Ed Norton in the Honeymooners).

Biden seems like the Alexander Throttlebottom in this Administration although Janet Napolitano could give him a run for his money.

Sorry for the dinosaur story.

Posted by: danielhancock | April 26, 2009 10:53 PM

Government unions are a cancer to this nation. They have a strangle hold on the government and until that is cut we will not be able to reign in the out of control spending. The government unions in California are bankrupting the State. The State Legislature is on their payroll and continue to pass unsustainable gifts to them. 100% pay on retirement at age 52 to be paid for by the taxpayers is not fair, unsustainable and the Legislature was told it would bankrupt the State when it was passed.

The City of Vallejo had to declare bankruptcy and the bankruptcy judge cut back the union contracts. Maybe California can declare bankruptcy as that seems to be the only way that we will be able to get control of these outrageous pay and retirement plans.

Posted by: Bubbette1 | April 26, 2009 5:19 PM

What is Ailing the Nation's Middle Class is an un-wanted Competition for our Jobs by a Workforce that not only dumps a HUGE Burden with their uncontrolled and largely subsidized extended families, but one that does it in an unfair Tax-exempt un-reported Fashion ILLEGALLY!

The Problem: A Federal Government courting Union Bosses instead of ENFORCING LABOR LAWS at Worksites and FINING Criminal Employers!

99% of Labor Leaders give the Rest;

a "Bad" Name!

Posted by: SAINT---The | April 25, 2009 3:21 PM

Indy will deal with the hotel workers in its own way. They, at least, have jobs which is more than a lot of the country does. EFCA is a sick joke and will not pass. Forget about it and, perhaps, the INS had better check for green cards as well.

Posted by: NotBubba | April 25, 2009 8:15 AM

Indianapolis hotel workers are currently engaged in a struggle of historic proportions. The Employee Free Choice Act is not just being fought for in the Senate and House Chambers in Washington, but in the streets of Indy, where huge majorities of hotel workers at the Westin, Hyatt, and Sheraton hotels are demanding that the corporations respect their right to a fair process. The passage of EFCA would give these workers the union. Here is a video about their struggle:

Posted by: indyjustice | April 24, 2009 6:56 PM

Hey Joe, the Bishop of the Wilmington Diocese is trying to find you. Good going!

They could put Paris Hilton, Perez (God forbid!) Hilton or Mr. Wizard in the post and that bill still won't pass.

Oh Joe, by the way, Beau's got a bit of problem in DE to take your former Senate seat. Seems like he's down 8 points in the latest poll.

Posted by: NotBubba | April 24, 2009 5:22 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.


© 2009 The Washington Post Company