Pro-union workers rally in front of a Rite-Aid drugstore.
Sen. Arlen Specter gave the proposed Employee Free Choice Act the shaft Tuesday, severely wounding legislation that would make forming unions significantly easier. Labor leaders were depending on support from moderates such as Specter, but, facing a primary challenge, the Pennsylvania Republican chickened out.
The senator blamed the recession for his decision.
Sen. Arlen Specter (R., Pa.) said [Tuesday] that he would oppose legislation making it easier for workers to form unions, dealing a severe blow to organized labor’s top political priority as he faces a 2010 primary challenge from the right.
Union leaders were counting on Specter to be the 60th vote needed to stop an expected GOP filibuster of the Employee Free Choice Act later this year. He was the lone Senate Republican to support consideration of the measure in 2007, when it stalled in the Senate.
“It is a very emotional issue, with labor looking to this legislation to reverse the steep decline in union membership, and business expressing great concern about added costs which would drive more companies out of business or overseas,” Specter said in a Senate floor speech ... .