The debate over measures to fix America's broken labor laws took a back seat during the long debate on health care. Now that the focus has shifted to efforts to stimulate economic growth and job creation, it's time to put workers' rights front and center.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce along with right-wing noise groups with shady sources of funding put out numerous talking points and videos painting unions as the problem as citing union intimidation as the biggest threat to the rights of working people to decide whether to unionize or not. They even went so far as to hire an actor from The Sopranos (union actor by the way) to create a cartoonish vision of this imagined reality.
But the reality for most workers is much different. A May 2009 study of employer opposition to union organizing done by Cornell University researcher Dr. Kate Bronfenbrenner finds:
• More than 70 percent of employers hold one-on-one closed door meetings with employees during a unionization drive. 54 percent of employers threaten workers in such meetings, while 57 percent threaten to close the worksite
• 75 percent of employers bring in outside anti-union consultants
• 47 percent of employers threaten to cut wages and benefits
• 34 percent of employers fire workers during a union campaign
The idea that unions are the problem flies so greatly in the the face of the reality experienced by countless workers who have been involved in organizing campaigns, that a lie that big can't be allowed to stand unchallenged. But rather than earnest position papers and counterpoints, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers thought it was time to push back with a video version of how corporations really view workplace democracy.
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