AFL-CIO pledges votes for Specter
Angling for a critical Senate swing vote to pass the "card check" bill that would make it easier to form unions, Pennsylvania labor leaders promised Sen. Arlen Specter that they will switch union members from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party to help him win a tough 2010 primary election, The Washington Times has learned.
Pennsylvania AFL-CIO President William M. George said he pledged Mr. Specter "all kinds of help from the union" in a series of meetings to woo the Republican senator's support for the bill, which would ease rules favoring secret-ballot elections to unionize workplaces.
"We are pushing to give him help in the primary, including changing Democrats to Republicans for the primary," Mr. George told The Times. "It's hard to do because of other races in the state ... but we'll do it for 'card check.' "
"It is surprising in this era of change that anyone would be brazen enough to suggest a quid pro quo" of endorsements and other political support, said Jerry Gorski, national chairman of the Associated Builders and Contractors, a group spearheading opposition to the bill.
"Why would the AFL-CIO throw their support to a candidate based on one single issue?" he asked, accusing the union of trying to "buy" Mr. Specter.