Ironically placed on MSNBC during Countdown, the ad, created by the even more ironically named Coalition for a Democratic Workplace, depicts stereotypically overbearing labor unionists encroaching on a worker casting his ballot in an old-fashioned mechanical voting booth:
V/O: Today when workers vote on having a union in their workplace, they use a secret ballot. But a new law could change all that.Members of the "Coalition" comprise a company of labor-hostile industry associations and chambers of commerce. This is not a grassroots campaign. This is pure astroturf.
BEEFY UNION THUG: How you doin'?
WORKER: Who are you?
BEEFY UNION THUG: Whaddya got there?
WORKER: My secret ballot.
BEEFY UNION THUG: Ho! Not anymore, it ain't. [snaps fingers, voting booth disappears, various sketchy characters look on in background]
WORKER: I-- Who are--
V/O: Under a card check law, workers would just sign a card . . . and everybody would know how they voted. Tell the candidates to protect worker privacy.
BEEFY UNION THUG: Do it!
The ad directs viewers to http://www.myprivateballot.com, which features, in addition to the list of coalition members linked above, a number of "fact sheets" about card check. These include statements such as the following:
Currently, the most common method for determining whether or not employeesI'll let Firedoglake take this one: "The NLRB process takes so long, is so tilted in favor of employers and has such weak remedies, it actually encourages managers to harass, intimidate and even fire employees. It’s illegal, but 25 percent of private-sector employers fire workers who try to form a union. And many more threaten workers with closings, layoffs and outsourcing."
want a union to represent them is a private ballot election overseen by the National
Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The NLRB provides detailed procedures that
ensure a fair election, free of fraud, where employees may cast their vote
confidentially without peer pressure or coercion from unions or employers. Union
bosses, however, find private ballot elections to be an impediment to unionization.
They prefer the card check process, where employees are forced to cast their vote
in front of union organizers and fellow employees who support unionization. [emphasis mine]
In July 2002 testimony before a HouseAside from the insulting implication that workers' interests can be bought off with chicken wings, the cited "employee" who testified before the subcommittee was Daniel V. Yager, who works for . . . the HR Policy Association . . . as senior vice president! We're not talking some average joe from the stockroom floor.
Subcommittee, an employee described the various misrepresentations and coercive
tactics used by union organizers in card check elections: Those who would not sign
were greeted with threats of termination, deportation and loss of 401(k) and health
benefits; and those who did sign were given promises of green cards, termination
of supervisors, and free food.
While both the employer and the union are present for the election, they are simplyMaybe employers only observe during the election, but what about before? Those 60 days are all a determined employer needs to wage an intensive anti-unionization campaign, bringing in professional anti-union trainers and consultants to discourage workers from unionizing -- and even to shut down an entire operation if a union victory seems imminent. Have you ever given more than two weeks' notice to a company you were leaving and felt how the days dragged on? Sixty days equals eight and a half weeks. Plenty of time for your boss to make your life even more miserable.
observers of the process, and may not speak with the voters or see how a particular
employee votes. Elections are held promptly, typically within 60 days of the
petition, and contrary to concerns regarding the unions’ ability to succeed in
private ballot elections, unions won 56% of elections in 2005.
Current law prohibits employers from making threats of reprisal or force, orAnd yet one-fourth of employers illegally fire at least one worker for organizing activity; three-fourths bring in outside professionals to disrupt organizing activity; 92 percent force employees to attend anti-union meetings; 78 percent mandate one-on-one anti-union meetings as well as group meetings; and more than half threaten to close operations if workers vote to unionize, although only 1 in 100 actually does. Where are the consequences for these intentional disruptions of the process? There are none. The current system is not OK. It is broken, and tens of millions of workers are suffering because of it.
promising benefits that might interfere with an election. Prohibited acts include
threats of physical force or loss of job or benefits, or promises of pay raises,
promotions or other benefits. If employers engage in such conduct, and their
behavior disrupts election conditions, the NLRB may order the employer to
bargain with the union even in cases where the union lost the election.
But the biggest lie of all is the assertion that the EFCA robs workers of the right to a secret-ballot election. In fact, under this bill, if one-third of workers request a secret-ballot election, they can have one! Card check merely provides an alternate route to the securing of union representation -- one that management can't poke its nose into. Since card check is voluntary, the idea that union thugs are looking over everyone's shoulders to see what they're writing on their cards is preposterous; workers who don't want to unionize or who distrust the union seeking to represent them can simply decline to hand in a card. It seems to me that a union would be foolish to initiate a card-check campaign in a workplace if it didn't have at least one-third of the employees on board already, with a reasonable expectation of signing up at least another one-sixth.
BTW, the YouTube video appears to require approval of comments. Approval of the poster -- the group that produced the video? Then you can bet the comments will remain awfully one-sided.