Card Check: In Minnesota and Maine

By July 15, 2008Labor Unions

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune today reports on the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace’s new advertising campaign in Minnesota. “TV, newspaper ads attack Franken on union views” compares the positions of the U.S. Senate candidates on the Employee Free Choice Act. (Incumbent Republican Norm Coleman versus Democrat Al Franken.)

Given the constraints of space, reporter Kevin Duschere does a good job of explaining the particulars of card check, avoiding the lazy shorthand of “a bill that would make it easier to form unions.”

The ad charges that the Free Choice Act would subject workers to coercion by forcing them to declare publicly their support or nonsupport for a union, rather than vote secretly as is usually done now. That’s undemocratic, the ads claim.

In fact, the bill wouldn’t eliminate the secret-ballot election as an option.

It would give workers seeking to organize the chance to choose between such an election, should 30 percent of all workers request it, or to pursue the so-called check-card process, which certifies the union as soon as 51 percent sign up.

But as Tim Miller of the Employee Freedom Action Committee* explains, unions would never opt for the secret ballot because they gain such a big advantage in “intimidation and coercion” via card check.

The Franken/union people have an opportunity to comment, and as typical, just call names.

Franken campaign spokesman Andy Barr on Friday called that a lie fueled by the “corporate interests” that are funding Coleman’s campaign. Franken blasted Coleman last month for supporting the filibuster and selling out “to corporate special interests time and time again.”

As the debate continues, we’d hope reporters would also look at other malign, anti-democratic provisions in the Employee Free Choice Act, such as forced arbitration in a short period of time if a contract isn’t reached. Blogger Warner Todd Huston comments:

The binding arbitration will force business to decide their contract within 120 days of the card check vote should that vote favor the union. If the contract isn’t settled in 120 days, then a federal arbitrator steps in to decide the matter. In other words, it will be taken out of the hands of both union and business owners and will become another illegitimate, nanny state venue of government.

In other card-check news, from Monday: “The Coalition for a Democratic Workplace (CDW) today announced that it was extending its public awareness campaign to reach Maine citizens. The effort begins with airing a television spot designed to inform the public that the Big Labor-backed Employee Free Choice Act, or “card check” legislation, threatens worker privacy.”

P.S. Funny to see the Franken people condeming special interests the same day the candidate was in Philadelphia at the national trial lawyers convention. Even funnier, the very same day a well-known Minnesota trial lawyer, Priscilla Lord Faris announced she would challenge Franken in the September primary.

* CORRECTION: We misidentified Tim Miller in the original post. He’s a spokeman for the Employee Freedom Action Committee, another business coalition active and advertising in opposition to the Employee Free Choice Act.

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