Big Labor will launch a multimillion dollar national ad campaign Thursday to push for the Employee Free Choice Act. Known as "card check," the bill has been a top priority of organized labor for years and would allow workers to choose the means by which they decide to form a union.
Under current law, employers can require that workers vote in a secret election whether or not to for a union. Under the new law, workers would be able to choose instead to publicly sign cards stating that they do, in fact, want to form a union. If more than 50 percent of workers sign the cards, then the union is official. The law further mandates that bosses negotiate with the union.
The labor coalition, American Rights at Work, plans to spend three million dollars on the campaign and air ads on national cable networks, Comedy Central political shows, and possibly in select cities and regions represented by crucial swing-voting senators.
Defeating card check is one of the Chamber of Commerce and Congressional Republicans' highest priorities.
One of the ada, shown here for the first time, utilizes President-elect Barack Obama's mantras of "hope" and "change." The ad features grocery store workers (cutting against the grain of the typical hard-hat stereotype of a union worker).
"I hope to have some health care ... for a change," says the first worker.
"I hope to work just one job ... for a change," says another.
"I hope to be able to save a little ... for a change," says a third.
"We voted on Election Day for hope and change. Now it's time for action. The Employee Free Choice Act lets workers choose to join a union to earn better pay, health benefits and job security," the ad concludes.
A second ad, also shown here for the first time, plays off the nation's resentment of bailouts for the financial sector.
"We don't have golden parachutes or option plans," says one worker.
"All we ask for is a level playing field," says another.