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“Feinstein Bailing on EFCA” or “Reporter Punk’d By Chamber of Commerce”?

where does DiFi get off?Don’t get me wrong. The "who will screw us on EFCA" merit badge will probably get passed around the Senate a few times before settling on someone (or more likely "someones") who are politically safe from union retribution, and Diane Feinstein is top of the likely contender list. But I’m not sure this means what they think it means:

BREAKING NEWS: Feinstein Pulls Support For Union Legislation

Written by Jon Dell

A delegation from the Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce, joined by similar groups from around the country, is in Washington to have meetings to express their opposition to the bill. At around 12:00 eastern time this afternoon, the group met with Senator Diane Feinstein.

"She will not vote for the bill, and she will not support any modification allowing the process to bypass secret ballots, and she believes that now is not the right time for this type of legislation given the downturn in the economy," said John Shaffery, a local lawyer and vice president for the SCV Chamber Board of Directors, who was in the meeting.

The announcement came as a complete surprise to the group.

“We’re still catching our breath,” Shaffery continued. “This is truly unexpected given that Senator Feinstein was the key senator that we were here to meet with today.”

Yeah, we get it. You want to break news. But at bare minimum, one Jon Dell should have:

  1. Looked up the meaning of the word "cloture," which apparently he does not know, since Feinstein’s vote for the bill isn’t needed for its passage
  2. Asked Feinstein for comment instead of taking the word of an organization spending millions of dollars to defeat the bill, and
  3. Done a simple Google search to determine Feinstein’s history with the bill, and discovered that she offered up her own compromise three weeks ago:

[Diane Feinstein’s] proposal would replace the card-check provision, which would allow workers to unionize if a majority signed authorization cards and strip a company’s ability to demand a secret ballot election. "It’s a secret ballot that would be mailed in … just like an absentee ballot. The individual could take it home and mail it in," Feinstein said. If a majority mailed the ballots to the National Labor Relations Board, the NLRB would recognize the union.

What about that? Did she say anything about her own "compromise" bill? Well, we don’t know, because a bunch of "breathless" delegates from the Santa Clarita Chamber of Commerce who know nothing about the history of the bill or Feinstein’s position apparently didn’t ask her about it, they just told their story to an equally incurious reporter who quickly decided that they "broke national news" in a "major turn of events."

Feinstein carefully parses her position on EFCA no matter who she’s talking to. There’s nothing new here, nothing that should lead the "journalist" to the conclusions he’s reached, and nothing inconsistent with what Feinstein has said as recently as three weeks ago.

It should have been nothing more than a Chamber of Commerce press release, but alas, it’s now "news."

Update: And like clockwork, Feinstein denies it:

Speaking on background, a confidant of the senator went a bit further. "This must be [Shaffery’s] first rodeo because the story hasn’t changed much. It has been the same: She is looking for a compromise. And anyone who says otherwise is engaging in some wishful thinking."

But the intellectually scrupulous Workforce Fairness Institute has already blasted it out to reporters. Too bad, Jon Dell. Your top Google search will soon be how your Chamber of Commerce pals made you look like a putz.

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Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Firedoglake.com. Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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