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News :: Labor
Senate Republicans today blocked the Employee Free Choice Act
by Labor Union News
27 Jun 2007
Senate Republicans today blocked the labor movement’s top legislative priority, a bill that would have made it easier for unions to organize workers.
In a largely party line vote, supporters of the bill, the Employee Free Choice Act, failed to get the 60 votes needed to cut off debate and allow a vote on the bill. The vote was 51 for cutting off debate and 48 against.
The bill would have given workers the right to insist on a procedure, known as majority sign-up, that allows employees at a workplace to form a union as soon as a majority of them signed cards saying they wanted one. Under current law, an employer facing a unionization drive can insist on a secret-ballot election.
The bill fueled a feverish lobbying battle between business and labor. Corporate lobbyists and their Republican allies asserted that the bill would infringe on workers’ rights by denying employees the right to a secret-ballot election. Union officials and their Democratic allies said the bill was needed to help reverse labor’s decline, because employers often defeat unionization drives by intimidating and firing workers during secret-ballot elections.
Labor leaders said they hope to build on this vote in future years, especially if a Democrat wins the presidency next year. The A.F.L.-C.I.O.’s president, John J. Sweeney, said, “Today’s vote shows that a majority of the United States Senate supports changing the law to restore working people’s freedom to make their own choice to join a union and bargain for a better life.”
Steve Maritas, SPFPA Organizing Director said " Today is the first step to the road to the White House, the labor movement is alive and well and workers will get the RESPECT they deserve. "
Mitch McConnell, the Senate Republican leader, who had vowed to block the legislation, said, “By preserving the secret ballot in union organizing drives, Republicans made sure America’s 140 million workers are not intimidated or coerced into siding with either labor or management.”
White House officials had vowed to veto the legislation.
Republicans are already using the issue to help win corporate donations for the 2008 election, and Democrats are highlighting their support of the bill to obtain union donations.
Grouped By Vote Position YEAs ---51
Not Voting - 1
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