Beware of Mandatory Arbitration in Card Check: Michael Barone

Michael Barone:

In his statement explaining his decision to switch from the Republican to the Democratic Party, Sen. Arlen Specter assured his listeners that “my position on Employees Free Choice (card check) will not change.” In later statements, Specter was explicit in opposing both major provisions of the bill — the effective abolition of the secret ballot in unionization elections and mandatory federal arbitration — and said he would not vote for cloture.

Whether or not Specter maintains his current stand, he has spotlighted an interesting issue. The labor unions’ drive for the full card check bill seems to have foundered. Specter enters a Democratic caucus where a half-dozen or more senators have made it clear, publicly or privately, that they will not vote for card check.

His statement gives cover to a Democratic leadership that wants to propitiate its labor union funders but does not want to put so many of its members on the spot. A vote to effectively abolish the secret ballot is not easy to defend come election time.

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