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A Politico article reported that the Employee Free Choice Act "would allow workers to organize a union by signing a card instead of holding secret-ballot elections." However, the suggestion that a secret-ballot election is currently required before obtaining union representation at a workplace is false. Under current law, a union that shows it has the support of a majority of workers can represent the workers if their employer voluntarily agrees to recognize the union, without holding such an election.
USA Today reported that the Employee Free Choice Act "would allow workers to form a union by gathering signed cards from a majority of employees, rather than the current method of winning a secret-ballot election overseen by the National Labor Relations Board." But the suggestion that a NLRB secret ballot election is currently required before obtaining union representation at a workplace is false. Under current law, a union that shows it has the support of a majority of workers can represent the workers if their employer voluntarily agrees to recognize the union.
On his radio and television shows, Bill O'Reilly advanced the falsehood that "the average autoworker now makes 70 bucks an hour." In fact, a recent Barclays Capital analysis reportedly found that the average U.S. autoworker is paid "an average of $55 an hour in wages and benefits."
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Fox News' Glenn Beck aired an on-screen graphic with the headline, "THEN ... WAGNER ACT," which falsely asserted that if 30 percent of employees want a union, "it gets established." In fact, the Wagner Act, which was passed in the 1930s, required that for union representation to be established, a majority of employees in a bargaining unit within a company had to "designate or select" a union to represent them. The National Labor Relations Act as it stands today also contains a majority requirement.
WSJ headline today: "Merrill Gave $1 Million Each to 700 of Its Staff"
According to the newspaper:
Merrill Lynch & Co. "secretly" moved up the date it awarded bonuses for 2008 and richly rewarded its executives despite billions of dollars in losses, giving bonuses of $1 million or more apiece to nearly 700 employees, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said.
Sorta makes you wonder about that media microscope that was used late last year to scrutinize the pay of middle class autoworkers, doesn't it?
Today's Examiner features an op-ed by Richard Berman titled "Employee Free Choice Act may backfire on unions." At the bottom of the column, the Examiner identifies Berman:
Richard Berman is executive director of the Center for Union Facts, a non-profit 501(c3) union watchdog organization. Learn more at www.unionfacts.com.
Now, you might think from that identification, and the column headline, that Richard Berman's opposition to the Employee Free Choice Act is motivated by a desire to look out for the well-being of the nation's labor unions.
In fact, Berman is an anti-union activist and lobbyist who does the bidding of big business via front groups he creates with warm-and-fuzzy sounding names like "The Center for Consumer Freedom" and "The Employee Freedom Action Committee."
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington has much more about Berman on their Berman Exposed web page, including this summary:
Richard Berman has been a regular front man for business and industry in campaigns against consumer safety and environmental groups. Through his public affairs firm, Berman and Company, Berman has fought unions, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, PETA and other watchdog groups in their efforts to raise awareness about obesity, the minimum wage, the dangers of smoking, mad cow disease, drunk driving, and other causes. Berman runs at least 15 industry-funded front groups and projects, such as the Center for Union Facts and holds 16 "positions" in those organizations.
Each year, Berman, using his front groups to spread misinformation, spends millions of dollars distracting the public with misleading ads.
Numerous media figures have asserted that the proposed stimulus package supported by President Barack Obama would amount to spending at least $223,000 for every job created, echoing a press release issued by the Republicans on the House Appropriations Committee. But by calculating the per-job cost by dividing the estimated total cost of the stimulus package by the estimated number of jobs created -- and thus suggesting that the sole purpose of that package is to create jobs -- these media figures ignored other tangible benefits stemming from the package, such as infrastructure improvements and education, health, and public safety investments.
On Fox News' Happening Now, Newt Gingrich echoed a common distortion employed by opponents of the Employee Free Choice Act, claiming that it "tak[es] away your right to a secret-ballot vote before being forced to join a union." In fact, the legislation does not eliminate employees' rights to a secret ballot; as The New York Times reported, "Business groups have attacked the legislation because it would take away employers' right to insist on holding a secret-ballot election to determine whether workers favored unionization."
The Washington Post purported to represent organized labor's argument for passage of the Employee Free Choice Act by reporting that "unions contend" employers exert "unfair pressure" on workers before elections. However, the word "pressure" inaccurately describes what the "unions contend" are the tactics used by employers to stop a union from organizing, which include intimidating workers, firing workers, and threatening to shut down factories and businesses.
The New York Times uncritically quoted opponents of the Employee Free Choice Act claiming that the bill would "eliminate ... the right" to a secret-ballot election to determine whether workers wish to unionize, but did not mention that supporters of EFCA counter by pointing out, as the Times itself previously has, that the bill would only "take away employers' right to insist on holding a secret-ballot election."
In a column about the "coming war" over the Employee Free Choice Act, Portfolio's Matthew Cooper wrote that "[p]olitical veteran Mark McKinnon, a former media adviser to George W. Bush, says he's 'never seen business this fired up.' " But Cooper did not identify McKinnon as a spokesperson for the Workforce Fairness Institute, an organization opposing the legislation.
The Washington Times reported that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid "back a card-check bill that would allow unionization of a workplace if the majority of employees sign union cards, eliminating the secret ballot that workers cast to decide whether to allow a union." In fact, the Employee Free Choice Act does not eliminate employees' rights to a secret ballot; as The New York Times reported, "Business groups have attacked the legislation because it would take away employers' right to insist on holding a secret-ballot election to determine whether workers favored unionization."