Nurses' unions lose support of key senator in card-check battle

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Nurses' unions hoping to see the Employee Free Choice Act become law have lost an important ally.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), who had supported the EFCA in previous sessions of Congress, has withdrawn her support for the measure. The move surprised and disappointed nurses' unions, including her home state's California Nurses Association, The Boston Globe reported. Although Feinstein has supported union reforms, she has changed course, arguing that now is not the time for reforms because of the dire shape of the economy. Nurse union leaders say expanded unionization will help improve healthcare, the Globe reported.

Feinstein's defection likely will be welcomed by healthcare providers, who have long opposed the EFCA. Without Feinstein's support, the bill is unlikely to receive the 60 votes it needs to avoid a Republican filibuster.