Tags: card | check | online | battle

Card Check Battle Heats Up Online

Wednesday, 08 Apr 2009 03:09 PM

By Dave Eberhart

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Business associations and labor unions have taken to the Internet to wage battle against the Employee Free Choice Act or card check bill, according to a report by The Hill.

Google online search engine ads for and against the act have been bought by such organizations as Service Employees International Union, the Heritage Foundation and the Workforce Fairness Institute, notes the Hill report.

The ads target members of Congress and the public. For example, the Workforce Fairness Institute, which opposes the card check measure, is running an ad demanding that Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., stop the “Employee Forced Choice Act.” It directs users to sign a petition against the bill.

For its part, Heritage set up ads on Google to pull online users to a special webpage on its own website that had links to their research, blogs, and op-eds on the issue.

“We wanted to make sure our research was popping up at the top of Google searches with our ad campaign,” said Robert Bluey, director of online strategy for the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank that opposes the bill.

The legislation would allow workers to organize simply by handing in enough cards expressing their preference. Unions claim the secret-ballot election campaigns allow management to dissuade workers with threats. On the other hand, businesses argue that card check allows unions to pressure workers unduly to organize, according to a report in the Las Vegas Sun.

When President Barack Obama was still serving in the Senate, he was one of the co-sponsors of the legislation. He declared during his presidential campaign that he would make card check “the law of the land when I'm president of the United States,” according to a report by Forbes.com.

The bill passed the House in 2007 but died in the Senate. It is being resurrected in the current Congress.

The Hill noted that searches for several terms associated with the bill, including “card-check” and “EFCA,” result in several ads popping up on web browsers.

“I think this closely follows the 2008 election, which saw a growth of online innovative advertising,” said Peter Greenberger, manager of elections and issues advocacy for Google. “People see this not only as a way to gain supporters but also to pressure lawmakers.”

Google ads have become a salient force in the waging of politics. Other ads trumpeted support for the nomination of former Rep. Hilda Solis, D-Calif., as Labor secretary, or touted candidates in New York’s recent special House election.

Curiously, despite Obama’s record of support for the controversial bill, Solis ran into grief during her nomination hearings on the Hill because she refused to go on the record as for or against the free choice act, claiming that she had not had the opportunity to discuss the matter with President Obama.

Despite the online push, the card check bill does not appear to have much momentum.

This week, Sen. Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas became the first Senate Democrat to oppose the card-check bill. She said she could not vote for the bill in its current form, according to Roll Call.

Meanwhile, Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., was the only Republican to join Democrats in voting to move forward on the bill.

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