Senator Arlen Specter, who once sponsored the Employee Free Choice Act slithers behind party lines.

http://img18.imageshack.us/img18/9228/engtruthteaserbm766617g.jpgOne of the original sponsors of The Employee Free Choice Act, with pressure of the upcoming 2010 election, has backed away from the American worker. Senator Specter (R-Pa.) has created an atmosphere in Senate where the opposing Senators in a minority can filibuster. Now, without 60 vote's, Specter being the most likely 60th., cloture is all but impossible.

So what exactly does all that mean? Well a filibuster obstructs the passage of legislation, it wastes time, it wastes the tax paying American's money, from Wikipedia "One of the most notable filibusters of the 1960s was when southern Democratic Senators attempted, unsuccessfully, to block the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by making a filibuster that lasted for 75 hours." If a motion of cloture was petitioned and voted for, then it would have to get debated and voted on.

Quick definitions of filibuster and Cloture

Filibuster (Wikipedia):
A filibuster, or "talking out a bill", is a form of obstruction in a legislature or other decision-making body. An attempt is made to infinitely extend debate upon a proposal in order to delay the progress or completely prevent a vote on the proposal taking place.
Cloture (Wikipedia):
Cloture is a motion or process aimed at bringing debate to a quick end.

After cloture has been invoked, the following restrictions apply:

  • No more than thirty hours of debate may occur.
  • No Senator may speak for more than one hour.
  • No amendments may be moved unless they were filed on the day in between the presentation of the petition and the actual cloture vote.
  • All amendments must be relevant to the debate.
  • Certain debates on procedure are not permissible.
  • The presiding officer gains additional power in controlling debate.
  • No other matters may be considered until the question upon which cloture was invoked is disposed of.

Specter: I'll Vote No on Employee Free Choice Act

(Talking Points Memo):
Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) just dealt a big blow to the labor movement by announcing publicly that he would support a GOP filibuster of the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), unions' No. 1 priority for this year and a subject of intense lobbying on both sides of the aisle.

"My vote on this bill is very difficult for many reasons," Specter said in a Senate floor speech, minutes after the news was broken by the Washington Independent. "It is very hard to disappoint many friends ... who are urging me to vote their way."

Fight for Employee Free Choice Continues Despite Specter’s Flip
(AFL-CIO Now):
Even though he was a sponsor of the original Employee Free Choice Act in 2003, supported the bill again in 2005 and voted against a Republican filibuster of it in 2007, Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) announced today that he would support a filibuster this year in an attempt to block the legislation from coming to a Senate floor vote.

Specter made a statement today about the failures of America’s labor laws—failures that make the Employee Free Choice Act necessary—but he also advanced falsehoods spread by corporate front groups. The statement shows that he’s listening not to his constituents, but to the big-money interests who are hoping to prevent workers from exercising their basic freedom to form unions and bargain.

AFL-CIO President John Sweeney says that while Specter’s cave-in to corporate lobbyists is disappointing, it won’t blunt the momentum behind this critical bill to protect worker’s freedom to form unions and bargain for a better life.
Today’s announcement by Sen. Specter—a sponsor of the original Employee Free Choice Act who voted for cloture in 2007—is frankly a disappointment and a rebuke to working people, to his own constituents in Pennsylvania and working families around the country.

The fact is the Employee Free Choice Act has more support than ever—large majorities in both houses of Congress, the president and vice president, 73 percent of the public. We will continue to work with Democrats and a number of Republicans to create common-sense solutions to the decades of corporate power.

We do not plan to let a hardball campaign from Big Business derail the Employee Free Choice Act or the dreams of workers.

There are deep flaws in our labor laws, as Sen. Specter acknowledged today. The freedom to join together and bargain with employers for fair wages and better benefits is critical to rebuilding our middle class—and now is exactly the time to do it, as we begin to revive our economy in a way that works for everyone. In the coming weeks, we will be escalating our campaign and finding the best ways forward to a balanced, strong economy.
American Rights At Work:
He has continually acknowledged the need for practical solutions to the huge barriers workers in our country face when trying to form a union. His statement today opposing an up or down vote and real discussion is inconsistent with his own record of support for working people.
Change To Win:
“The Employee Free Choice Act is a vital component to restoring our economy, rebuilding the middle class and renewing the American Dream for America’s workers. Allowing workers the choice to join together, free from intimidation and harassment, to bargain for job security, better wages and health care will stimulate our economy and put working families back on the path of prosperity. We will continue to work with Democrats and Republicans, including Sen. Specter, to pass this critical legislation and make our economy work for everyone.”
Statement from SEIU President Andy Stern on the Employee Free Choice Act
(SEIU):

In the middle of this economic crisis, passing the Employee Free Choice Act is exactly the right thing to do to give workers the chance to level the playing field. Majority Leader Reid said today, and as even Sen. Specter acknowledges, we need strong labor reform. Now more than ever, America's workers need a choice, free from intimidation and harassment, to bargain for job security, better wages and health care. Our President, Vice President and majorities in both houses of Congress share this goal, and we will not stop in our efforts to achieve it.

In an essay Senator Specter recently wrote for the Harvard Journal on Legislation, he states that for people like himself, "finding a practical solution is more important than political posturing." That's why we're dismayed by those who say they support the democratic process, yet refuse to allow meaningful debate and a democratic vote on critical legislation like the Employee Free Choice Act.

It's simple: If you support democracy, you should support the right to debate legislation that could improve the lives of millions of working Americans, pump $49 billion into the economy at a time when we desperately need it, and that's supported by the vast majority of the public.

We look forward to working with Sen. Specter and the rest of the Congress to find ways to give workers the free choice to join a union free from intimidation and harassment.

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