Thursday, June 11, 2009

EFCA still sub-sixty?

As I blogged last night, a compromise could be in the works for the woefully-mismonikered Employee Free Choice Act. But to get anything done in the US Senate, sixty votes are needed, and even with Al Franken in the Senate, which is not guaranteed, the Dems still may have trouble gathering sixty votes.

Last week there was speculation that Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) would vote against the current version of EFCA--which has that odious "free to peek" sign up policy that would replace secret ballots when workers decide if they want to join a union. Feinstein's office issued "a clarification" that calmed union leaders down. But the same people are probably fretting over Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO), as the Denver Post tells reported this morning:

Shortly after a meeting between Latino business owners and Sen. Michael Bennet on a controversial unionizing bill last week, his team began working the back channels to control the spin war they feared would result.

The Colorado business group said it was "delighted" with the meeting, and members' notes showed not only did Bennet, D-Colo., have major problems with the bill, but that he would "have a hard time" voting for cloture — the process in which 60 votes are needed to end debate and bring a measure to a vote — something he had never said in public before.

Fearing the worst, Rosemary Rodriguez, Bennet's state director, called one of the attendees to find out what they were saying to reporters.

Craig Hughes, Bennet's campaign director, worked to reassure a consortium of unions that the senator hadn't decided how to vote on the bill, known as the Employee Free Choice Act and the unions' top legislative priority.

"They were just panicked," one meeting attendee said of the efforts at damage control. "Utterly and completely panicked."

I don't blame them for panicking. Officially the Coloradan is neutral, but they also must remember that workers aren't marching down the streets of Denver, Greeley, or heck, any American town demanding to join unions. And if they want to, there's a set procedure in place--secret ballot elections.

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