Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Despite Intense Push, EFCA Still Faces Steep Climb

Here's the latest report from the Coalition for a Democratic Workforce, of which HARDI is a member:

CDW Members:

The last 10 days have, with Labor Day and the AFL-CIO’s convention in Pittsburgh (click
here to see the CDW ad that ran in all the PGH newspapers yesterday, and was mentioned by Senator Specter during his speech to the convention), seen plenty of talk about EFCA; ranging from commitments to pass the original EFCA to the assertion that there are currently 60 votes in favor of moving forward with an alternative version of EFCA.

· Senator Tom Harkin, chairman of the Senate HELP Committee on September 10, according The Hill : “As of July, I can tell you this openly and I know the press is all here but we had worked out a pretty good agreement. Labor was at the table.” The Hill continued, that Harkin “said Thursday that he had the 60 Senate votes necessary in July to clear the card-check bill through the Senate.
o However, here is Senator Harkin on July 29, 2009: “I think we're 80 [percent] to 90 percent there.”

· Outgoing AFL-CIO President, John Sweeney, speculated to the New York Times that unions would have to accept an EFCA alternative that did not include card-check.
o According to the Las Vegas Sun last Friday, Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid told “a group of more than a thousand union members that ‘we have to do card check.’”

· Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, in a speech at the AFL-CIO convention, stated that the White House would “make the strongest case possible” for passage of EFCA.
o Senator Arlen Specter (D-PA) told the same AFL-CIO convention that an alternative EFCA deal had been reached, saying “We have pounded out an Employees Choice bill which will meet labor’s objectives.”

That’s a fairly confusing narrative; Senator Harkin has 60 votes for EFCA, but he doesn’t; the AFL-CIO is ready to concede on card-check, but the Senate Majority Leader says it’s a “must have” item; and the Secretary of Labor fully endorses the passage of EFCA, but Senator Specter implies that a “deal” has been reached on a new version of the bill.

The reality is that Senator Specter, along with Senators Schumer and Brown, are no closer to reaching an agreement that nets 60 votes than they were in July. The continued grassroots efforts of CDW members during the August recess and into this month (when several groups are hosting D.C. fly-ins with their members companies) has kept EFCA in the same place it was 6 months ago……..incapable of getting 60 votes in the Senate.

So, please keep up the good work so that we can continue to win this crucial legislative battle.

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