McCaskill: 'Card-check' legislation not going to come up in Senate

Controversial "card-check" legislation won't come up in the Senate this year, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) said Wednesday.

McCaskill said that while senators were still negotiating the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), a controversial bill to reform union organizing rules, it was unlikely to even include the actual "card-check" provision itself, which has been the subject of heavy fire from conservatives and business groups.

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"I don't think that card-check is going to come up," McCaskill said during a weekly conference call with Missouri journalists. "It has not come up, and believe me: If card-check, the way it was drafted, was going to come up, it probably would have come up early in 2009, as opposed to now."

EFCA was a priority of the labor community's heading into last year's Congress, but the emergence of a series of Democrats to have questioned some of its provisions, along with timing issues regarding jobs and healthcare legislation, had left the bill on the backburner.

"I think there's a lot of negotiation that's going on about card-check," McCaskill said. "Businesses are at the table, and frankly I don't think the card-checking part is the part that's being discussed at this point; I think that's been abandoned."

With Republicans looking likely to make inroads into Democrats' strong, 59-vote majority this fall, the prospects for the bill could wane significantly after the new Congress is sworn in in early 2011.

McCaskill said it was her preference to see the secret ballot remain intact for union elections, but also for businesses that wish for their employees to vote on dissolving a collective bargaining organization.

"I think that secret ballots are fair on both ends of the process," she said. "A secret ballot to decide to collectively work for better wages and benefits, and a secret ballot to decide you no longer want to be part of an organization."