One union leader in Arkansas says that if Sen. Blanche Lincoln continues to disappoint, all the local union organizations will meet to discuss the possibility of recruiting a candidate to challenge her. Other reports have indicated a possible Green challenger.
From our Washington, D.C. correspondent Paul Barton:
The head of the Arkansas AFL-CIO said this afternoon that incumbent Sen. Blanche Lincoln may yet face an opponent in next year’s Democratic Primary because of her anti-union stances this year.
Alan B. Hughes of Little Rock, president of the state organization, said the chances of Lincoln drawing an opponent depend on how she handles the Employee Free Choice Act or “card check,” legislation designed to make it easier for workers at a site to form a union.
The original EFCA bill would have allowed workers at a site to sign an authorization card if they favored forming a union, instead of going through a secret ballot election in which they are often intimidated, labor officials said.
Lincoln said last month she could not accept card check “in its current form,” even though she supported the measure in 2007.
Rumors on Capitol Hill suggest a new compromise on EFCA is being crafted by Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Arlen Specter, one that will preserve secret-ballot elections by enabling workers to send their ballots directly to the National Labor Relations Board for counting. It also contains a provision for binding arbitration in order to keep companies from stalling contract negotiations once unions are formed.
The Arkansas business community is vehemently opposed to card check, as are most Republicans in Congress.
But some Internet news sites and bloggers reported this morning that Lincoln is not supportive of the revised card-check bill, either.
Lincoln’s office has not responded yet to questions put to them earlier today by the Arkansas Times.
Hughes said if Lincoln continues to disappoint Arkansas labor then all the local union organizations around the state will meet soon to discuss the possibility of recruiting a candidate to challenge her. “The doors are open at that time,” he said.
There have been suggestions that labor might team with the Green Party to challenge Lincoln in the Democratic Party, but Hughes said he knew of no such plans yet.
However, Hughes said he had no doubts that national labor organizations would also be supportive of a Lincoln primary challenger.
Said Hughes, “I’m sure national labor would be involved.”
Lincoln will be running for her third six-year term in 2010.