A leader of the recent filibuster against the administration's labor law revision package said yesterday the legislation should be dropped for the year, but he outlined some areas of possible compromise that could keep it alive a while longer.
Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) told the Senate Human Resources Committee that "minimum changes" to avoid more filibusters include dropping the "equal access" provision, sharply modifying penalty provisions and adding sanctions against violence or mass picketing.
Lugar was the only critic of the bill to testify in hearings after the legislation was returned to the committee for redrafting when a sixth attempt to break a five-week filibuster in it failed last week.
John Melcher (D-Mont.), the only other senator to testify, had supported the bill.
The bill, which would generally make it easier for workers to unionize and win contracts, is not expected to go back to the Senate floor unless proponents can guarantee the 60 votes necessary to break another filibuster.Their previous high-water mark was 58, although Sen. Russell B. Long (D-La) has since indicated he will support the bill with modifications.
Lugar said yesterday at least three senators have indicated they will not support debate-ending cloture against any filibuster on the bill again but did no say who they are.
If the bill is to have any chance, he told the committee, it must be stripped of a provisions giving union organizers limited access to company property during organizing drives. Sections prescribing penalties for violations, expanding the National Labor Relations Board and setting deadlines for union representation elections should be modified, he added.
Lugar also called for new sections requiring secret ballot elections for all union representation contests, outlawing violence ormass picketing on company property and authorizing employe referendums to end a strike.
Several committee sources indicated they believed Lugar's proposals offered at least some room for compromise.