Sen. John Ensign, speaking to bloggers on a Wednesday afternoon conference call, said that if Democrats were successful at passing the Employee Free Choice Act, the chances of repealing it should Republicans eventually return to power would be “pretty slim to non-existent.”
Overturning the legislation would probably require 63 to 64 Republicans in the Senate, Republican control of the House of Representatives, and a Republican President, making the prospect “almost impossible,” Ensign said.
In the face of erroding support for EFCA, proponents are talking about various compromise measures, including ditching the controversial provision that would deny workers the right to a secret ballot election on unionization, while mantaining the binding arbitration measure. But the arbitration part is just as worrisome, he said.
Ensign said that unions would never negotiate if they knew that a government arbiter would eventually step in and dictate to employers the terms of a labor agreement. Such a provision would drive up the cost of labor, and force technology companies to move jobs overseas, he predicted.
Asked about Arlen Specter, who came out against EFCA but has left the door open to some form of compromise, Ensign said he was worried that Specter could change the bill slightly and claim he stuck to his vow.
“We’re very nervous about some of the public statements he’s made,” Ensign said. “We hope he honors not just the leter of his pledge, but the intent of the pledge.”