The U.S. Senate yesterday refused to proceed to a vote on the "Employee Free Choice Act" (S.B. 1041/H.R. 800). A slight majority of senators favored moving EFCA to a vote; however, the vote was only 51-48 in favor, and a 60-40 vote was required.
The bill, which was sponsored by George Miller (D-Ca.), has been described by Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) as "unionization by intimidation." Business leaders are rightfully celebrating the successful outcome of a massive effort by the business community to encourage their senators to vote against this legislation, which would have had a dramatic impact on workplaces in the United States, perhaps one of the most dramatic in the history of U.S. labor relations. Tom Donohue, President and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, thanked the members of that organization saying, "The Senate got it right by blocking action on this absolutely outrageous bill."
Although it is tempting to hope that this will be the end of this legislation, business leaders must not become complacent in this narrow victory. John Sweeney, President of the AFL-CIO, vows that the fight has just begun. In a not-so-veiled threat that many legislators will not ignore, Sweeney responded to the vote saying, "Those who continue to support our broken system will find themselves on the wrong side of history. And that battle engages now, as we move into the 2008 elections, when working people will elect more senators and a president who will champion their concerns and fight for their futures." Clearly, organized labor is fighting for its life and will not go quietly! Constangy will continue to monitor organized labor's efforts to change U.S. labor law and keep you up to date.
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