Sam Stein of The Huffington Post reports that the AFL-CIO bought full-page ads in the The Hill, Roll Call, and Politico featuring Major League Baseball players touting the Employee Free Choice Act. From “World Series Stars Push Employee Free Choice Act“:
[As] part of the ad, some of the best-known names in the game, including three players who are participating in the fall classic — Jimmy Rollins, Mark Teixeira and Shane Victorino — pitch the societal benefits of stronger labor organization.
“[A]ll Americans should have the same opportunity we’ve had — to be able to join a union without being fired and to negotiate with their employers without being penalized,” their statement reads. “Today, our country is facing some tough times. Health care costs are skyrocketing. Families are losing homes. Savings and retirement income are disappearing overnight. Now more than ever, we need a strong union movement to protect our jobs, our pensions, and our future. The Employee Free Choice Act simply guarantees a level playing field for all workers. It makes sure everyone plays by the same rules. That’s as important in the workplace as it is in baseball.”
The headline of the ad, and apparently its sole argument, is “A Level Playing Field is as important in the Workplace as it is in Baseball.”
Uh, pitcher’s mound?
Besides the strained simile, one doubts the average worker is going to be persuaded by Mark Teixeria to give up the secret ballot or submit to contract terms imposed through binding arbitration.
And, as the Workforce Fairness Institute points out, this ad recalls the AFL-CIO’s elitist pitch of having “West Wing” actors Martin Sheen, Bradley Whitford and Richard Schiff heading to Capitol Hill to lobby for EFCA.
These ad campaigns remind us of some of the PETA stunts, you know, outrageous analogies or costume gimmicks that don’t inform, don’t move the debate, and prompt most members of the public to say, “What the…?” But the ads do spend money and may therefore convince somebody, somewhere the sponsors are actually doing something.
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