Specter, speaking this afternoon on the Senate floor, called the issue a “very difficult” one, explaining, “it is very hard to disappoint many friends who have supported me over the years, on either side, who are urging me to vote their way.”
Here’s how he described the major considerations leading up to his decision:
On the merits, the issue which has emerged at the top of the list for me is the elimination of the secret ballot which is the cornerstone of how contests are decided in a democratic society. The bill’s requirement for compulsory arbitration if an agreement is not reached within 120 days may subject the employer to a deal he or she cannot live with. Such arbitration runs contrary to the basic tenet of the Wagner Act for collective bargaining which makes the employer liable only for a deal he or she agrees to.
Specter also noted that, “the problems of the recession make this a particularly bad time to enact Employees Free Choice legislation.”
He proposed changes to the National Labor Relations Act and left the door open to supporting EFCA in the future.
“If efforts are unsuccessful to give Labor sufficient bargaining power through amendments to the NLRA, then I would be willing to reconsider Employees’ Free Choice legislation when the economy returns to normalcy,” he said.
The full statement is available here.