Card Check: The Reality, Political and Otherwise

By March 24, 2009Labor Unions

Marc Ambinder at The Atlantic writes, “Specter Doesn’t Close Door On Card Check Forever“:

In his floor statement, Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) provided words of temporary comfort to opponents of the Employee Free Choice Act, or “card check.” 

The problems of the recession make this a particularly bad time to enact Employees Free Choice legislation.  Employers understandably complain that adding a burden would result in further job losses.   If efforts are unsuccessful to give Labor sufficient bargaining power through amendments to the NLRA, then I would be willing to reconsider Employees’ Free Choice legislation when the economy returns to normalcy.”  

By 2010, regardless of whether Specter is re-elected, Democrats will (probably) have another shot at card check, and here Specter is indicating a political compromise: give me the cover for two years, and I’ll give you the 60th vote in 2010.  Of course, if the economy IS in recovery by then, the urgency to pass pro-labor legislation might be less acute.

We’ll let the speculators speculate on the Specter-lative politics, but  on the general point of the Employee Free Choice Act still being a threat (our term), that’s right. Today’s announcement by Senator Specter was certainly significant news, but organized labor won’t be abandoning the quest for the Holy Grail of Intimidation anytime soon.

Which is to say, the business community remains actively engaged in this issue.

UPDATE (5:20 p.m.): Peter Kirsanow, a former NLRB member, drives home the point at National Review’s The Corner, “EFCA, Specter, and the Next Stage“:

Senator Specter just delivered remarks on EFCA on the floor of the Senate. As noted below, he will not vote for cloture, noting that this is a bad time, economically, to pass such a measure. He did not, however, foreclose the possibility of considering some alternative measure in the future — including a form of “last best offer” arbitration.
Although this is a significant blow to labor’s agenda, the battle is far from over. Specter noted that EFCA was the most heavily lobbied bill he’d ever seen. EFCA proponents aren’t going away. There are several compromises that have been floated over the last several weeks (especially keep a sharp eye on “equal access” proposals). One or more will become the new focus of lobbying efforts.
Since EFCA supporters are certain to change their legislative strategy, opponents must also. They’ll be making a big mistake if they relax their efforts — the horse-trading may be just beginning in earnest.

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