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Actor Charlton Heston Speaks Out Against Striker Replacement Bill

May 20, 1994

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Opponents of a union-backed plan to outlaw the permanent replacement of striking workers said Friday they were planning advertisements aimed at persuading senators to kill the legislation.

Actor Charlton Heston, who appears in the commercials, called the Workplace Fairness Act ″a terrible bill,″ but said many members of the Senate are supporting it because they are ″deeply in debt ... politically to the AFL- CIO.″

″The AFL-CIO’s purchasing power is enormous,″ he said. ″They are in a position to put enormous pressure on a senator or congressman.″

Heston spoke at a news conference called by the National Right to Work Committee, which has led lobbying against the bill, and in a brief interview afterward with The Associated Press.

The House passed the legislation last spring and it already has cleared a Senate committee. Both sides say there are enough backers for the bill to pass the full Senate, but the threat of a filibuster, in which opponents make long speeches to stall legislation, has blocked floor action. Proponents of the bill have said they are as many as five votes short of the 60 required to end a filibuster.

National Right to Work favors the filibuster.

The bill is at the top of organized labor’s legislative agenda and with few recent successes on Capitol Hill, unions are lobbying furiously for its adoption.

At a rally on the Capitol steps earlier this week, AFL-CIO President Lane Kirkland said a minority of senators were ″determined to dispose of this″ legislation.

Employer groups claim the striker replacement bill would tie their hands and give workers an unfair advantage during strikes.

The television and radio ads in which Heston appears are targeted at 13 senators who either are being heavily lobbied by unions to vote to end the filibuster or who have said they are undecided on how to vote.

National Right to Work Committee President Reed Larson said the group will spend $100,000 on the spots, in addition to more than $6 million already spent to fight the bill.

Heston, an Academy Award-winning actor has been associated with a number of conservative causes, including the fight against an assault weapons ban. He also has campaigned for Republican candidates.

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