One of the nation's largest unions is making a significant ad purchase targeting four Democrats and one Republican Senator on the Employee Free Choice Act.
The Service Employees International Union is, according to an aide, putting "well more than $100,000" behind online ads and similar promotional activities designed to turn up the heat on members of Congress whose support for EFCA is tepid or non-existent.
Targeting Democratic Senators Mark Pryor and Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, Jim Webb of Virginia, and Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, as well as Republican David Vitter of Louisiana, the message is at once effective and sharp: To oppose the labor-backed legislation would be to side with the institutions that create the current economic malaise.
"Big banks and greedy corporations got our country into this mess," reads the script, which is tailored to each individual Senator and state. "Now they want to fire or harass employees who want to join a union."
In addition to putting out the four web videos, the SEIU is also launching email campaigns targeting the five senators, with much the same message and aim.
"The goal," the union aide said, "is to frame the debate on the Employee Free Choice Act going forward as a choice: Standing with working people, or standing with greedy CEOs who wrecked our economy in the first place."
What is remarkable is the willingness of the SEIU to publicly target this quartet of Democrats on EFCA. It is an indication of just where the debate currently lies. Indeed, in private, union officials say they are confidant that they can get EFCA passed. But the details of the legislation will be largely determined by the willingness these recalcitrant Democrats to compromise.