Times are tough for the labor movement. Failing pensions, public disapproval, and worst of all, the Employee Free Choice Act is still tied up in the Senate. After donating $450 million to Democrats in the 2008 election cycle labor must have thought that EFCA would be a shoo-in; they even had the President on their side.
With EFCA on the back burner for many Senators, labor recruited new Democratic Senator Arlen Specter, to take up its fight. When speaking at an AFL-CIO convention, Specter reassured his crowd, “[W]e have pounded out an Employees Choice bill [EFCA] which will meet labor’s objectives: that is, prompt certification, and binding arbitration, and give you the kind of support that you need and are entitled to. And I believe that before the year is up, I will join my fellow colleague Senator Bob Casey in predicting passage of an Employees Free Choice Act which will be totally satisfactory to labor."
If only to add an exclamation point, Specter implemented other Democratic Senators saying Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas and Ben Nelson of Nebraska tacitly supported his bill. After the crowds dispersed AFL-CIO head Richard Trumpa and other union heads met with Specter. The union bosses were disappointed with Specter and thought he needed to do more. The following day Harry Reid expressed the same sentiment.
Organized labor feels that they have been cheated. Labor held their end of the bargain and has no legislation to show for it. With Paul Kirk holding Senator Kennedy’s seat, Democrats again control 60 seats in the Senate. Complacency is dangerous, and although labor is backed into a corner they are still the most powerful interest group in the Democratic Party. A frustrated labor movement will need to be appeased, if not Senator Specter’s version of EFCA than something synonymous.
The Alliance for Worker Freedom knows this and is committed to keeping Americans informed. AWF released the follow press release to do just that: