Specter’s Change of Heart Throws Wrench in EFCA (Eyes Now Turn to Bayh)

The Employee Free Choice Act, a bill that would modify existing labor law to eliminate the secret ballot in union-organizing elections and impose mandatory arbitration on parties to labor disputes, fortunately suffered a hiccup in the Senate last week.

Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pennsylvania) took to the floor and announced that – unlike in years’ past – he would not support the EFCA or even a cloture vote to debate this legislation. A key moderate vote in the Senate, Specter’s change of heart (perhaps triggered by home-state polls showing him down double digits in the primary) effectively derailed the EFCA in the Senate. However, rumors of potential “compromise” on the legislation began surfacing and it could still move in the House.

The Indiana Chamber forcefully opposes this bill, which would overturn nearly 70 years of labor law and place businesses at a distinct disadvantage in any union-organizing effort. This is labor’s top priority this Congress, but many centrist Democrats are running scared from the bill because it would stifle new jobs and business investment during a profound economic recession – reasons cited by Sen. Specter in his floor speech. Like Specter, Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh (D) will be a critical vote on this issue, and the Indiana Chamber, among others, has informed Sen. Bayh of our strong opposition to the bill. While some speak of compromise, the elimination of the secret ballot in union elections and binding arbitration language in this bill are completely unacceptable to business.

Call to Action: Contact Sen. Bayh at (202) 224-5623 or send a letter through www.indianaprosperity.org to urge him to oppose the EFCA and vote against any cloture motion in the Senate concerning this bill. Also, let your representative know your position on the EFCA and urge him or her to also oppose it.