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.