Thursday, July 24, 2008

"I protest your invitation" 

I've written twice before on the Orwellian-named Employee Free Choice Act, which would make the heretofore voluntary agreement between workers and firms to use card-check systems (allowing a union to be recognized as sole bargaining agent for all workers if a majority of workers sign cards agreeing to be so represented) binding on firms who do not agree. Firms currently can request a vote to be administered by NLRB; those workers who do not wish to be unionized would have the opportunity, along with the firm, to argue why a union would not be in workers' best interest, and a vote would be held with workers' privacy protected by the NLRB. No such protections are provided under the proposed card-check program. Those who did not sign the card, or those who were not even approached by union organizers, would find themselves in a union, obligated to pay dues, without recourse, without a check or balance. The equivalent would be to imagine you waking one morning and reading in your newspaper that organizers had gone to other homes, had others sign a card that signified that they wanted King Banaian to be president of the United States, and that because they had enough cards signed, Banaian was now president without any further action required. You've never heard me talk, you don't know my views, but I now represent you on Pennsylvania Avenue. That'd be pretty bizarre, yes?

After the DFL accused the ad put out by the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace (the TV ad was put out by them alone) of falsehoods, I wrote a letter to DFL state party chair Brian Melendez to invite him to debate the issue. We had recorded Al Franken answers twice to be sure we understood his views on the bill, and by their own admission Franken supports EFCA. So we assumed the debate would be on the merits of the bill. A discussion of the issue, I thought, might be a refreshing change to thirty-second ads.

So imagine my surprise last night to find out that the DFL would rather file a complaint. They'd rather debate through lawyers than in the state capitol. We are, of course, happy to have this debate any place Chairman Melendez chooses, but isn't it interesting that he needs to employ lawyers to assist his side?

We appreciate the coverage by the news and bloggers (Andy's post has both of the TV ads; I bet he watches them on his iPhone.) And we don't intend to go away; a new ad is running from us today.

A statement put out by J. Justin Wilson, managing director of the Employee Freedom Action Committee, said in a prepared statement,
It appears that Mr. Melendez is complicit in the scheme to deceive the public and take away working Minnesotans� right to a private ballot vote. The irony of Mr. Melendez�s �complaint� is that he is the one who is misleading the people of Minnesota in order to advance a union boss� power grab that will generate millions in new forced dues dollars.

If Mr. Melendez truly cared about the best interests of working Minnesotans he would reject these absurd political games and agree to a substantive public debate on the private vote issue.
I reiterate that invitation, Chairman Melendez. I'm available almost any day in the month of August.

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