Bush Is Thwarted on Worker Rights in Security Dept. Measure
The last senator to take a position on the debate over worker and union rights in the proposed Homeland Security Department, Moderate Republican Senator Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island crossed party lines yesterday, reaching a compromise with Democrats on a plan that has the support of federal labor unions (see WIT for July 10, 2002). Under the compromise legislation, presidential changes in civil service rules could be challenged by federal unions and brought to binding arbitration, and the president would only be able to remove union representation rights from Homeland Security Department employees whose jobs directly impact national security. Chafee?s decision counters the earlier cross-party move by Democratic Georgia Senator Zel Miller, setting the stage for Senate passage of a long-awaited Homeland Security bill and raising the possibility of a political showdown over legislation opposed by the president and at odds with the Security bill passed by the House of Representatives.