Union issues emerging in Senate races

For entertainment value alone, few political ads recently can rival theTV spots against the Employee Free Choice Act. Under the proposed legislation, an employer would no longer have the opportunity to demand a secret ballot election when a majority of employees have signed union cards and there is no evidence of illegal coercion.

One ad features a potential union member being urged ordered to sign a union ballot by a union thug, portrayed as a cross between Jimmy Hoffa and former Chicago Mayor Richard Daley.

Another features mobsters-in-training in school.

The ads latter ad come comes from the Center for Union Facts, one of several related front groups for businesses and corporations, which are running the ads in several states where Democratic challengers are facing Republican incumbents. (The former ad comes from the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace, a group of business associations.)

A Web site, LaborPains.org, is part of the same organization and last Thursday posted a video of Al Franken discussing his support for the legislation.

In Maine, the ads have been even more prominent, even though incumbent Sen. Susan Collins has a significant lead in the polls over her Democratic challenger.

The issue is a classic Republican vs. Democratic one, and as with most special interest ads, facts – or at least context — are hard to come by. Gov. Pawlenty vetoed a DFL resolution earlier this year that supported the federal legislation. This came after a February hearing in which some union members insisted the current system makes it too easy to intimidate employees in a union vote (Listen to hearing).

  • Not sure what “significant lead in the polls” is supposed to mean in this context. For what it’s worth, Sen. Collins leads Rep. Allen by %49-%42 in the latest poll–out last week from Rasmussen.