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Under current law, whenever 30 percent of employees in a workplace sign union-authorization cards, employers have the right to demand a secret-ballot election. Under provisions of the unions’ proposed legislation that right would be revoked.

Another early labor priority will be “a pretty substantial economic-recovery package,” according to Ms. Lee. Mr. Samuel said such a package should cost “$300 billion or more,” including a bailout of the Big Three automakers if that is not completed this year. Other priorities in the stimulus package would include an extension of unemployment benefits, increased food stamps and large public-infrastructure projects.

Mr. Samuel did not offer any suggestions for who should be the new secretary of labor, but when asked about former Rep. David E. Bonior, Michigan Democrat, Mr. Samuel said he “would be a great choice.”

According to national exit polls, union members made up 12 percent of the electorate this year. These voters supported Mr. Obama over Republican presidential candidate John McCain by a 60 percent to 37 percent margin, exit polls showed.

Labor leaders have said the union vote was instrumental in the Obama victories in Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin and Nevada. President Bush won Ohio, Florida, Indiana and Nevada in both 2000 and 2004. The labor vote was also pivotal in many close Senate and House elections, elections experts say.

Mr. Samuel asserted that the Republican Party “has lost the confidence of the ordinary workers and union members.”

Both the AFL-CIO and Change to Win, a rival labor federation, worked hard to elect Mr. Obama and to strengthen Democratic majorities in the Senate and House. The AFL-CIO spent $53.4 million and its affiliates spent an additional $200 million on education efforts. The Service Employees International Union, which is part of Change to Win, spent $60 million alone, according to labor spokesmen.

Democratic successes in Senate races will make it easier to pass a card-check bill. In 2007, the House easily passed the measure, but a Republican-led filibuster stopped it in the Senate.

In the interview, Mr. Samuel and Ms. Lee repeated labor’s opposition to the free-trade agreements the Bush administration has negotiated with Colombia and South Korea.

Ms. Lee described the Bush administration’s efforts to pass the Colombia deal during the current lame-duck session as “continued delusional thinking of President Bush.”