Card Check: Secret Ballots As a Campaign Issue

By May 29, 2008Labor Unions

We’ve commented before that support of the Employee Free Choice Act is a losing issue in general election campaigns because most Americans will recoil from the idea of eliminating secret ballots in the workplace. Polling conducted for the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace indicates as much.

So, yes indeed, candidates would be smart to hammer away at candidates who have voted for or endorsed card check.

And here we go….

In Oregon, The Employee Freedom Action Committee has run an ad against the new Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate, State House Speaker Jeff Merkley, who just won the primary to challenge incumbent Sen. Gordon Smith (R-OR). The group is affiliated with the Center for Union Facts, which publishes the Laborpains.org blog we often link to around here.

The ad in The Oregonian states:

Jeff Merkley won the Democratic primary Tuesday through a mailed private ballot by Oregon Citizens. Yet he supports eliminating the right to a private vote when unions are enlisting new members. Hard to believe?

Gets right to the point.

Merkley’s response, reported in PolitickerOR.com:

Gordon Smith should renounce this rogue and the special interests that are bankrolling this organization…Shadowy groups like this are planning to come into Oregon and mislead voters about important issues at stake in this election. Smith has fought hard to protect these interests and now they are protecting him.

How does the ad mislead voters about important issues at stake in this election? What is inaccurate about it?

There’s also some misdirection by Merkley’s camp about the Employee Free Action Committee connection to Rick Berman, a tobacco lobbyist, a charge that’s apparently supposed to trump all discussion of policy and campaign issues.

Seems to us, rather, that the most important question is: “Jeff Merkley won the Democratic primary Tuesday through a mailed private ballot by Oregon Citizens. Yet he supports eliminating the right to a private vote when unions are enlisting new members. Hard to believe?”

P.S. The Eugene Register-Guard covered the story here, a solid piece that goes to the AFL-CIO to defend the merits of the Employee Free Choice Act. A Merkley aide protests shadowy groups, but he does manage to express platitudes: “This is one of many ways to allow working men and women to thrive, to assure good quality jobs with health care and child care benefits.”

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