It’s been quite a year for Senator Arlen Specter. This time last year, Specter had changed party affiliation and was well on his way to dropping his allegiance to Pennsylvania small businesses and workers in that his commitment to oppose the job-killing Employee ‘Forced’ Choice Act (EFCA) was quickly becoming invalid.
In 2009, Specter announced his opposition to EFCA saying, “The problems of the recession make this a particularly bad time to enact Employees Free Choice legislation. Employers understandably complain that adding a burden would result in further job losses … I am announcing my decision now because I have consulted with a very large number of interested parties on both sides and I have made up my mind.”
Specter had decided the legislation wasn’t acceptable considering it would result in increased unemployment during an historic recession.
But apparently, Big Labor’s siren song of political support lured Specter away from his promise to his constituents and he openly began to support the legislation he previously opposed stating, “I expect the cloture vote to occur on a modified version of the Employee’s Free Choice legislation … And I will support that cloture vote.”
It was characterized in the press as “a reversal of his previous position … that he would support a procedural vote to bypass a filibuster for a modified version of the ‘card check’ legislation.”
As a result of Specter’s conduct in relation to EFCA and host of other issues, Pennsylvania voters made a decision this week that he had lost their trust and voted against the state’s longest-serving Senator sending him into retirement.
This leads to the question, why is EFCA such a big deal for union bosses that they would coax and cajole a sitting U.S. Senator to change parties then positions on a policy that would result in lost jobs?
The Employee ‘Forced’ Choice Act would remove workers’ rights to a secret ballot vote during union-organizing elections and empower a government arbitrator to determine wages and benefits for newly-unionized workplaces in contracts that are binding for at least two years. Businesses across the country – and in Pennsylvania – have said they would simply close their doors or move overseas if EFCA was passed.