The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release
Contact: Steve Rendall,,Tel: 212-633-6700 x13

Action Alert: NBC's Secret Ballot Falsehood

Today show misrepresents pro-union bill, asks Wal-Mart for explanation


On April 15, NBC's Today
show host Matt Lauer mischaracterized the Employee Free Choice Act,
then turned to Wal-Mart CEO Mike Duke for further explanation of the
pro-labor bill.

The Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) would make it easier for workers to
form unions by increasing penalties for employers who violate workers'
right to organize, and by giving workers the right to form a union if a
majority signs cards declaring they want one--the so-called "card
check" provision.

NBC's Lauer declared that EFCA "would do away with
secret ballots." This is inaccurate; under the proposed law, workers
would still have the right to vote in a National Labor Review Board
(NLRB) "secret ballot" election if 30 percent of the workforce signs
cards, just as they do now. Under current law, employers rather than
workers get to decide whether unionization requires a card check or a
vote. The false claim that EFCA would eliminate secret ballots has been
a major talking point of anti-EFCA campaigners.

In an interview with Wal-Mart CEO Mike Duke, NBC host Lauer advanced that falsehood, saying EFCA "would do away with secret ballots."

Lauer then asked Duke:

people say, unions say it'll make it easier for American workers to
earn a fair salary. Others, like the guy who runs Home Depot, the
co-founder, Bernie Marcus, say it's going to cripple American business.
What's the truth?

replied by dismissing EFCA as "really one of those bills that would be
damaging to the American economy long-term." Lauer seemed unsurprised,
responding: "Probably expect that response from Mike Duke, the new CEO
of Wal-Mart."

Yes--asking the new CEO of anadamantly anti-labor corporation that was recently exposed
for forcing workers to attend anti-EFCA meetings what he thinks of the
proposed pro-labor bill is bound to yield a predictable result. That's
why it would make sense for NBC's Today
show to seek out another point of view on the Employee Free Choice Act.
This exchange between Duke and Lauer is the only time the Employee Free
Choice Act has been mentioned on the program.

ACTION: Ask the Today show to correct host
Matt Lauer's false claim that the Employee Free Choice Act "would do
away with secret ballots." And ask them to interview a supporter of the
Employee Free Choice Act--someone who can counter the arguments made
against the bill by Wal-Mart CEO Duke.


Today show

Phone: 212-664-4602
Web form:

FAIR, the national media watch group, has been offering well-documented criticism of media bias and censorship since 1986. We work to invigorate the First Amendment by advocating for greater diversity in the press and by scrutinizing media practices that marginalize public interest, minority and dissenting viewpoints.