The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Mark McCullough, (202) 730-7283
Christy Setzer, (202) 730-7349

SEIU Demands Corporate Lobbyists Take Down Deceptive Ads on Employee Free Choice Act

Anti-Worker Front Group Takes Misleading Ad Campaign From Nebraska into Arkansas


the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) sent letters to
television stations in Nebraska and Arkansas demanding that deceptive
ads about the Employee Free Choice Act be taken down immediately. The
ads are paid for by the Employee Freedom Action Committee (EFAC), the
political action committee of anti-worker front group Center for Union

"Arkansans and Nebraskans are losing their jobs, their benefits and
their retirement security, yet the same greedy CEOs and corporate
lobbyists who helped tank the economy aren't satisfied. Now, they want
to take away workers' rights to bargain for better working conditions
and higher wages," said SEIU Political Director Jon Youngdahl. "In
order to do so, they're reduced to creating vicious and false ads that
portray union members as mobsters. They need to stop this deceptive ad
campaign and remove these lies from the air."

In a letter sent to television stations in both states today, SEIU
debunked the false claims made in EFAC's ads, writing in part:

Union Workers Have a Voice In the Workplace, Earn More & Have Better Benefits than Non-Union Workers. The
ad falsely claims that organized workers do not have a say in
negotiations over their wages and benefits, when nothing could be
further from the truth. It is unorganized workers who have no mechanism to negotiate with their employer over their wages and benefits. At the same time, union members typically vote on whether to ratify their contracts. (1)

Moreover, the ad falsely implies
that employers are handing out raises to their employees with the union
that is standing in the way, when the exact opposite is true. The
fact is that union workers have higher wages and better benefits than
non-union workers, which is why more than half of all workers-nearly
sixty million-would join a union if they could.(2) Indeed,
according to the Center for American Progress Action Fund, union
workers earn significantly more on average than their non-union
counterparts, are nearly 54 percent more likely to have
employer-provided pensions, and are 28 percent more likely to be
covered by employer-provided health insurance.In 2007, union workers earned 30 percent more on average than non-union workers.(3)

On Thursday, Media Matters also deconstructed the ads, deeming the camaign "inaccurate and offensive."

EFAC, like its affiliated organization Center for Union Facts, is
run by corporate lobbyist Rick Berman. Berman, former labor counsel at
the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, is a virulent anti-worker and
anti-consumer activist. According to a profile of Berman on NPR:

Berman's firm also runs the American Beverage Institute, which argues that drunk driving is over-hyped; the Center for Consumer Freedom, which argues that the obesity "epidemic" and mad cow disease, among other things, are over-hyped; and the Employment Policies Institute, which advocates against minimum wage increases.

A copy of the letter can be found at

1) Michael Mauer, The Union Member's Complete Guide. p. 45. Union Communication Services Inc. 2001.

2) Peter D. Hart poll, December 2006; Economic Policy Institute Briefing Paper #182, 2/22/07

3) Center for American Progress Action Fund, "Unions Are Good for Workers and the Economy," 2/18/09; Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1/25/08

With 2 million members in Canada, the United States and Puerto Rico, SEIU is the fastest-growing union in the Americas. Focused on uniting workers in healthcare, public services and property services, SEIU members are winning better wages, healthcare and more secure jobs for our communities, while uniting their strength with their counterparts around the world to help ensure that workers--not just corporations and CEOs--benefit from today's global economy.