Card Check: A Democratic Senator Has Her Doubts

By December 17, 2008Labor Unions

From AP Arkansas, “Lincoln: ‘Card-check’ proposal not necessary“:

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) – Sen. Blanche Lincoln said Tuesday she doesn’t believe federal legislation that would allow labor organizations to unionize workplaces without secret-ballot elections is necessary, but gave herself room to support the measure if it’s brought up later.

Business and labor groups are pressuring the Democratic senator from Arkansas for support either way, and Tim Griffin, a potential challenger to the senator’s 2010 re-election bid, has said her stand could be an issue in the race.

We don’t find the full AP immediately online, but here are key quotes and excerpts from Senator Lincoln:

“I think the question is, is there a need for this legislation right now? And for multiple reasons, I don’t think there is,” Lincoln said in an interview with The Associated Press….

Lincoln said that the majority of efforts to unionize workers are successful anyway and that the nation has bigger problems to deal with.

“I don’t see this bill as being the solution to those problems, and I don’t see us focusing on that bill as helping us to solve those problems,” Lincoln said. “If what we want to do is strengthen our economy, create jobs, create a better working environment for working families and workers in this country and create a better environment for business to be successful, then it’s not focusing on the Employee Free Choice Act.”

Lincoln said she thinks the act has “room for improvement,” and indicated she’d be more open to talking about the measure once other issues are addressed first.

“Just to bring this up and say this is going to solve problems, we try really hard to not do things that way,” Lincoln said. “The point is, we try to go through the hearing process, which is what we’ve tried to do on health care and tax reform and other things we’ve had all these hearings on.”

That’s an excellent assessment of the state of play, from which we infer that organized labor’s priorities aren’t the nation’s priorities. It’s especially gratifying to see Senator Lincoln acknowledge that unions win a majority of representation elections, more than 60 percent in 2007.

Meanwhile, The Hill reports that Senator George Voinovich (R-OH) is sticking to his guns, declaring, “To just have a situation where somebody can go out there and get X number of cards and then say, ‘By the way, we’ve got 50-plus-one, now you’re unionized’ — it’s undemocratic.”

UPDATE (11:30 a.m.): Brian Faughnan at The Weekly Standard does some Senate vote-counting and finds the 60 votes for cloture more difficult to reach. Beware the faux compromise, though.

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