GOP senators block organized labor bill

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“It is sad and shameful that Republican senators chose to block the road to the middle class for millions of workers by throwing up procedural barricades from their minority position in Congress,” AFL-CIO President John Sweeney said.

Mr. Sweeney added that organized labor will campaign against those lawmakers who voted against the bill.

“Theirs is a stunt that working men and women will remember when they go to the ballot boxes in 2008,” he said.

Overall union membership was 12 percent of the work force nationally last year — down from 12.5 percent in 2005 and 20 percent in 1983.

Union activists say they will continue pushing the matter with Congress, possibly as early as next year.

“This fight is far from over,” said Jeremy Funk, a spokesman for Americans United for Change, a union advocacy group. “There’s no denying the ground has shifted for the labor movement and that the American public want a fix to the broken system for forming unions and bargaining with employers for fair treatment.”

Union leaders said that since a majority of members of both houses of Congress favor a card-check system, it is only a matter of time before the proposal becomes law.

“The Senate vote shows the ground has shifted,” Mr. Sweeney said. “Those who continue to support our broken system will find themselves on the wrong side of history.”

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