With the power in both houses of Congress firmly on the right, public education, health care and critical social programs will be under intense attack.
Anti-union governors, emboldened by re-election in a number of states, are expected to take an even more aggressive march against collective bargaining rights. A conservative U.S. Supreme Court could also add to the threats against workers' rights.
"We're ready for this," said NYSUT Executive Vice President Andy Pallotta. "It's going to take a maximum effort, but we're in the right and we will not relent without victory. Labor rights are not for sale."
Here's a brief rundown of issues at the federal level:
Quality education for all
We must reclaim the promise of a high-quality public education for all by enacting common-sense federal policies and ending the testing obsession.
The Student Testing Improvement and Accountability Act, co-sponsored by U.S. Rep. Chris Gibson, a New York Republican, would reduce federally mandated tests and give states the freedom to focus on learning and high-level thinking skills instead of test preparation.
Students struggling with rising tuition and skyrocketing student loan debt must see some relief.
Safe patient handling
On the heels of New York state's new law, which union advocates pushed long and hard for, a federal bill is designed to decrease the potential for injury to all who provide and receive care.
Nurse in every school
When 25 percent of children have chronic health conditions that could affect their ability to learn, school nurses are essential.
No one who works full time and plays by the rules should still struggle to pay for basic necessities.
Any attempt to dismantle Social Security and Medicare must be stopped, Pallotta said.