Lincoln skittish on EFCA's arbitration section

Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) indicated last week she does not favor the so-called "binding arbitration" part of the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) as currently written.

Lincoln joins two other centrist Democrats in opposition to the second key component of EFCA favored by organized labor, making it difficult for a final compromise of the bill including the provision to overcome a Senate filibuster.

Lincoln reiterated her opposition to EFCA, the El-Dorado News-Times reported May 1st, but when asked what specific elements of the bill she had issues with, Lincoln cited the "arbitration piece," among other aspects of the legislation.

The so-called "binding arbitration" portion of the bill would refer an employer and union to a federal mediator after 90 days of collective bargaining and invoke arbitration after 30 additional days, the decision from which would be binding for two years. However, parties engaged in a negotiation could agree to extend those deadlines.

Sens. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) and Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) have expressed their qualms about the arbitration section.

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