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Key provision likely to be dropped from union bill

By Holly Rosenkrantz
Bloomberg News / May 5, 2009
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WASHINGTON - US Senator Tom Harkin, who sponsored a bill to make it easier for workers to join unions, said the main provision may have to be dropped to get the votes pass the measure.

There isn't enough support for a provision, which is known as card-check, that would allow workers to bypass a formal election and form a union when a majority of them sign cards requesting one, Harkin said yesterday.

"Compromises are going to be made," said Harkin, an Iowa Democrat. "It probably won't be card-check because too many people are opposed to it now."

The measure stalled in the Senate after several lawmakers whose votes would be needed to overcome Republican opposition, such as Senator Blanche Lincoln, an Arkansas Democrat, said they wouldn't support the measure.

Companies such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. have been leading the opposition.

Labor groups spent about $100 million last year to elect Democrats and have made passing the card-check measure their top goal in Washington this year.

President Obama supports the bill.

Senator Tom Harkin expects the union measure will pass if the card-check provision is dropped.

FACING STIFF

OPPOSITION