EFCA Ad War Heats Up: SEIU Responds To Chamber's Latest

The SEIU has just put up a response advertisement to the Chamber of Commerce's own $1 million ad campaign, accusing the Chamber of using stale and false political accusations against the Employee Free Choice Act.

The spot, which will run on the web, points out that the Chamber's main critiques of the labor-backed legislation - including dire warnings about bureaucrats from Washington - seem recycled from those it used to fight the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1989 and the Family Medical Leave Act in 1991. The underlying message is that the Chamber was drastically on the wrong side of history in those two fights, and remains so now.

On a meta-level the escalation of the ad wars really hits to a new stage in the broader debate on the Employee Free Choice Act. From a union perspective, the stakes have gone up in the past few weeks as Sens. Arlen Specter, R-PA, and Blanche Lincoln, D-AR - two key votes - both said they would opposed cloture. On Monday, meanwhile, the Chamber announced its latest salvo: a pricey ad campaign that focuses on a EFCA provision that would empower federal arbitrators with the task of negotiation a deal between union forces and management if the two parties fail in their own negotiation.

In the Wall Street Journal piece announcing the ad campaign, the Chambers chief lobbyist, Steven Law, call this provision "anathema."

Union officials, of course, have a different take. And in an email sent to reporters, AFL-CIO spokesman Eddie Vale pointed out that when it comes to your "credit card statement, your bank statement, or your phone bill.... any disputes you have with the companies are to be settled by arbitration."

"This is yet another example of the pure hypocrisy by big business," Vale concluded. "They have no problem with arbitration for THEMSELVES -- they just don't want America's workers to have the same right."