3.5.09

Constangy partner Mel Haas is a member of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Labor Relations Committee.  We are forwarding to you last night's communication from the Chamber's Executive Director of Labor Law Policy so that you may be informed of the latest from Capitol Hill.  As always, Constangy will keep you informed immediately as news hits.  If you have questions or concerns, feel free to contact any Constangy attorney.

TO: Members of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Labor Relations Committee and Other Members of the Business Community
 
Over the last few days, there have been countless rumors about when the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) may be introduced and brought up before the House or Senate. We wanted to take this opportunity to share the latest information we have and offer our perspective.
 
First, there are rumors that EFCA may be introduced as soon as Monday. There are other equally credible rumors that the bill will not be imminently introduced. The fact is that Rep. George Miller and Sen. Ted Kennedy can introduce the bill whenever they want. In fact, they made quite a show of preparing to introduce the bill last month, only to pull the plug and regroup, presumably because they do not have what they believe a proper number of co-sponsors would be. The far more important questions are when EFCA might be considered and what should we be doing in anticipation of consideration?
 
The debate over EFCA has begun, but the most important vote - cloture in the Senate is not imminent. The Senate is scheduled to conduct a hearing on the issue next week (with or without a bill introduced). However, we know that the unions are highly unlikely to make a serious push for a Senate vote until the Minnesota Senate contest between Norm Coleman and Al Franken is resolved. Other questions regarding Sen. Kennedy's health and availability to vote and whether Sen. Burris will remain in the Senate also come into play - the bottom line is that the unions need every Democratic vote they can get if they are to have a chance at breaking a filibuster.
 
Whether or not the bill is introduced next week, it remains critically important that we collectively ramp up our efforts to generate opposition to the bill. As part of our efforts, for example, we are hosting local chambers of commerce from targeted states for fly-ins beginning next week. We are continuing to grow our grassroots networks and these efforts are having a real impact in targeted states and congressional districts. There is no magic to this - it is old fashioned lobbying and grassroots work.
 
So, this is all just a long winded way of saying, don't panic. They may introduce the bill next week, they may not. We still have some time before the big vote, but don't let that stop you from engaging - we need your help now to be sure this bill does not pass.
 
Thanks very much and, as always, please don't hesitate to contact us if you have questions about this or any other labor policy matter.
 
Michael J. Eastman
Executive Director, Labor Law Policy
U.S. Chamber of Commerce

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