Specter's Shift May Doom Bill on Union Organizing

It's a major blow to EFCA hopes
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 24, 2009 4:26 PM CDT
Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Sen. Arlen Specter said today he won't support the Employee Free Choice Act, delivering a serious setback to the much-watched labor initiative, the Wall Street Journal reports. The bill would allow unions to organize more easily, using card signatures instead of secret ballots. The Republican's support of the measure was crucial because his vote could have given Democrats a filibuster-proof 60th vote.

Specter, from union-heavy Pennsylvania, was the lone Republican to back the bill on its last pass through Congress. He's now facing a tough primary fight from the right wing of his state party. “It is an anguishing position, but we play the cards we're dealt,” said Specter. Harry Reid said he hopes to push the measure through somehow, the Hill notes.