Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2009 | 5:26 p.m.
We Don’t Ask
Hope and Change
It's almost like election season never ended. With Congress back in session, here come the issue ads.
One labor issue we can expect to see lots of activity on is the hotly contested Employee Free Choice Act, a bill that would allow unions to organize without secret ballot elections and would institute binding arbitration when contract negotiations stall. Basically, workers would only have to sign a card to support organizing (many of the hospitality workers on the Strip are already organized in this fashion).
President-elect Barack Obama said he supports the legislation and it is expected to easily pass the House. But the rubber hits the road in the Senate, where both sides expect a protracted fight. So far there doesn't seem to be the needed votes to pass the bill.
To keep the pressure on those who pledged support and to help persuade the undecided, union activist group American Rights at Work is launching a nationwide TV ad campaign tomorrow. The commercials, playing on Obama's theme of hope and change, will air on the cable news networks and Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report" and "The Daily Show" for two weeks.
The group says the bill is critical to reversing an employer advantage during union elections.
While the U.S. Chamber of Commerce says it doesn't have immediate plans for rebuttal ads, the organization, which is the leading opposition to the bill, will air ads of its own at some point. During the election, the Chamber’s ads portrayed the bill as opening the door to workers being unscrupulously pressured to sign the card by union bosses.