EFCA Is a Job-Killer, Just Ask Arlen Specter

Katie Packer
May 22, 2010

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.

Senator Specter was correct that the Employee ‘Forced’ Choice Act would result in lost jobs. EFCA would cause the loss of 600,000 jobs in the first year alone, with more to come each following year. And while jobs were being lost, the increase in union membership would result in more dues to bosses totaling at least $35 billion over just ten years. Those resources would allow the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) President Richard Trumka to thank Specter and his friends on Capitol Hill for their support with even more contributions. The entire exercise would enrich “labor leaders” who have been misusing and wasting their organizations’ funds so extensively that their members’ pension programs are going bankrupt.

This is the current state of play for Big Labor and therefore they have few options outside trying to purchase the support of candidates who might not otherwise be able to stand on their own. We are witnessing a similar phenomenon in Arkansas where Big Labor is bankrolling the campaign of Lieutenant Governor Bill Halter, while he offers language and posturing on EFCA just as disingenuous and artificial as that of Pennsylvania’s now-retiring senior Senator. Voters are smart enough to understand when legislation is simply bad and beneficial only to special interests.

Office holders and those aspiring to public office are sorely misreading and underestimating the electorate when they assume they can offer misleading and dishonest rhetoric on issues that directly impact voters’ livelihoods, while accepting huge amounts of monetary support from organizations that only stand to gain from policies like the Employee ‘Forced’ Choice Act.

While Arlen Specter made a decision that – at the time – it made sense to stand with Big Labor; ultimately, the damage done to the integrity of his word sealed his fate in the eyes of the voter. Halter is not in a dissimilar position in that he has not been honest about where he stands on EFCA and the unseemly sums of money being spent on his behalf by labor bosses will catch up with him sooner or later as voters will not stand with someone who refuses to stand with them on critical issues confronting workers and small businesses.

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AZ Daily Sun--Coconino Voices: PRO Act legislation would hurt local businesses

— 05.13.2021 —
By: Julie Pastrik Arizona businesses and workers have had an incredibly challenging year given the economic slowdown that followed in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. However, local businesses and industries across the state are resilient and on the road to a strong recovery that will mean more jobs for Arizona workers and increased economic development to strengthen our communities. That is, as long as Congress does not move forward with potentially devastating legislation that would hurt local employers and employees alike while impeding our state’s economic recovery. Unfortunately, some members of Congress seem determined to do just that by pushing through the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act. As harmless as the name may sound, the PRO Act would have serious repercussions for local businesses, particularly smaller ones, while undermining long-standing rights for employees and threatening the growing gig economy that has helped provide much-needed income for so many during this time. Arizona is fortunate to have leaders like Senators Mark Kelly and Kyrsten Sinema, who have both refrained from joining the vast majority of their Democratic colleagues in cosponsoring the PRO Act. In a slap in the face to Arizona workers, the PRO Act removes one of the most fundamental rights a worker has when it comes to voting in elections to determine whether to unionize: the secret ballot. Instead, workers could be forced to sign union authorization cards in front of other employees, their employer, or union organizers. This bill would also destroy workers’ right to privacy by allowing unions access to personal information, including their home address and personal phone number. If that doesn’t open the door to union intimidation and harassment, I don’t know what does. As if that was not bad enough, the PRO Act would create major new challenges for Arizona businesses, making it harder for them to create jobs, expand in their communities, and even keep their doors open. It would redefine what it means to be a “joint employer” under national labor law, greatly complicating existing relationships between franchisors and franchisees as well as between business owners, contractors, subcontractors, and vendors and suppliers. At the same time, it would interfere with attorney-client confidentiality and make it much more difficult for small businesses to secure a legal advice on labor issues. Particularly harmful during these times, the PRO Act would apply a failed policy from California to national labor law by using the “ABC” test to determine whether a worker is an independent contractor or employee. This makes it much harder to qualify as an independent contractor, threatening the freedom and flexibility that tens of thousands of Arizonans find in independent contracting and gig economy work. Ultimately, the PRO Act is bad public policy that only works for union leaders to inflate their falling ranks while threatening workers’ rights, undermining small businesses, and jeopardizing a growing part of our economy. This is not a good solution for Arizona, and Senators Sinema and Kelly should stay firm and not cosponsor this misguided legislation.
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