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This is low-profile, but significant:

Unions are increasingly looking to the National Labor Relations Board to seek favorable workplace rulings, and the agency is showing a willingness to reopen matters previously decided in favor of employers. [...]

The NLRB can't overhaul labor law, but it can make rulings on a case-by-case basis and set broader policies through administrative rules that could give unions more leverage with employers.

The Bush years were terrible for unions, and it's no small thing that the Obama administration -- with an excellent secretary of labor in Hilda Solis -- has enforced existing labor law, made it easier for workers to unionize, and promoted rules that bolster unions and provide more protection for labor. Unions are a vitally important institution in American liberalism, to say nothing of their importance to the middle class; not only has union decline harmed the interests of ordinary Americans, but it has limited the space for progressive governance and is partly responsible for the sharp conservative turn of the last three decades.

Obviously, a few friendly rulings won't change that, but the mere fact of a union-friendly culture in the federal government is very beneficial to the interests of working- and middle-class Americans.

-- Jamelle Bouie

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