July 10, 2008
Anti-Labor Forces Attack Franken in Minnesota
Update (7/11): Here’s a link to a local TV station’s “reality check” on another of the anti-Franken ads based on Freedom of Choice. The TV station does a good job of explaining the issues to the general public.
Thanks to Laura Cooper (Minnesota) for sending my way this article from the StarTribune.com concering election tactics being used against Democratic candidate Al Franken:
A business coalition has launched a new ad criticizing DFL Senate candidate Al Franken for supporting legislation that would make it easier for workers to start unions.
The ad by the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace takes aim at the Employee Free Choice Act, which would certify a union as soon as a majority of workers at a plant signed cards authorizing it. Current law allows employers to demand a secret ballot election when their workers seek to organize a union.
The ad features actor Vince Curatola, who played the mob boss Johnny (Sack) Sacramoni on "The Sopranos," staying in character and praising "My pal Al." Then an announcer urges people to call Franken and tell him "he's wrong to end worker privacy."
I think the Franken campaign spokesperson rightfully points out that EFCA legislation would protect employee bargaining and privacy rights by saving them from the immense amount of employer intimidation that goes on during a normal organizing campaign. I have written about such tactics in my recent article on employer captive audience meetings.
November 28, 2007
Presidential Candidates Seeking to Show Solidarity with Unions
One indication that labor is going to play a big role in the coming presidential elections is the amount of time candidates (mostly Democrats) are spending talking to union membership and walking the picket lines (from MSNBC's First Read):
Once again, [John] Edwards joined the striking Writers Guild and other union members in solidarity, after marching with the the WGA members in Burbank earlier this month. Although he spoke for less than four minutes, the union members rallied around the presidential candidate, yelling out encouraging words.
"The truth is, [unions are] crucial for the future of America," Edwards said in New York City's Washington Square Park. "It is why, when I'm president of the United States, when you're out walking the picket line, nobody will be able to walk through that picket line and take your job away from you. You're going to have a president who actually stands with you, when you're working, when you're collectively bargaining, when you're standing up for workers, yourself, and fellow workers across this country."
Before leaving the rally, Edwards had a message for the union members on strike. "I'm proud to be with you; stay strong," he said to an increasing amount of cheers. "Stay strong. Stay together. You're doing the right thing. Continue to do the right thing."
I'm not sure the last time a presidential campaign heard such
strident appropriately enthusiastic, pro-union words from a major candidate, but Edwards is not alone. Both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have picked up support from important unions along the way. One senses, of course depending on the Democratic margin in the Senate, that the next few years could be heady times for unions and workers' rights.