Ads are used in Employee Free Choice Act debate

U.S. business associations and labor unions are using advertising campaigns to try to sway government officials regarding the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), which would make it easier for unions to organize workers, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The U.S Chamber of Commerce is launching a $1 million television advertising campaign in the home states of key senators to attack EFCA. It focuses on a provision that would give federal arbitrators the authority to set the unionization rules if employers and employees fail to negotiate their own deals, emphasizing that Washington, D.C., would be telling employers how to run their businesses.

These advertisements follow union-backed television advertisements that support the bill, saying companies that are receiving bailouts and bonuses on Wall Street are trying to prevent workers from receiving better benefits and wages through unions. They also emphasize the bill would improve workers’ lives and help the economy. Since Labor Day, unions have spent $10 million on ads and also have hung 50-foot banners with workers' personal testimonials on Washington office buildings.

Currently, EFCA does not have the 60 votes needed to pass in the Senate. Until recently, opposition to the bill mainly has been focused on a provision that would make it easier for unions to organize without secret-ballot elections. However, focus is now on a binding-arbitration measure; business groups don’t want to see a compromise that involves accepting arbitration in exchange for unions dropping the ballot provision.

Congressional Democratic leaders, business groups and unions are discussing potential compromises that could help some of labor's goals progress.

Date : 4/17/2009