On Tuesday, CNBC's Erin Burnett made a broad comparison between the Employee Free Choice Act and what's going on in Iran. Hearing this, one might think, "Surely she said something like, "The Employee Free Choice Act, if passed, will allow would-be union members the opportunity to organize without the sort of brutal crackdowns and authoritarian intimidation associated with Iran's ruling mullahs and crazypants dictators." No. This is not at all what happened!
Instead, Burnett compared the lack of a "secret ballot" in Iran to the Employee Free Choice Act, which would allow unions to form via signed cards. Yes, on CNBC, "card check" equals creeping Ahmadinejadism. This is the sort of perspective that can only be taken by those at a safe remove from the concerns of both American workers and Iranian reformers. Burnett got attaboys from the sage genius Jim Cramer for her heroic observation. As you'll see, their primary concern with the Iranian election is how it will effect the price of oil. I hope that the pro-reform protesters spare a thought for that as they are getting their heads beaten in, because, priorities!
Of course, traditionally, trade unionists fight dictatorships. Sen. John McCain, sizing up the events in Iran, recently compared it to the fight for democracy in Poland. Well, while we're talking analogies, here's a fun fact: The fight for democracy in Poland was led by a trade unionist named Lech Walesa.
As you might expect, the Service Employees International Union has condemned Burnett's statements, citing "irresponsible journalism" and "reckless reporting." I think "appalling lack of perspective" covers it just as well.
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