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Tuesday, September 30, 2014 / PROGRESSIVE JOURNALISM FOR POSITIVE ACTION
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Corporate Front Group Airs Misleading Anti-Union Ad During Super Bowl

Travis Waldron
Think Progress / News Report
Published: Monday 6 February 2012
“The Center on Union Facts produced and paid for the 40-second ad, which ran in the Washington DC television market just before halftime ended.”

While Super Bowl XLVI will be remembered for its dramatic ending, the issue of workers’ rights and union representation also surrounded the National Football League’s biggest game. A labor dispute nearly cost the NFL its 2011-12 season, and in the days before the game, Indiana passed an anti-union “right to work” law that led to union and Occupy protests at Indianapolis’ Super Bowl festivities throughout the week.

But despite fears from sports columnists and right-wing blogs that the protesters would “ruin the Super Bowl,” the only visible advocacy for some of the game’s viewers came in the form of a misleading anti-union attack ad from a corporate front group. The Center on Union Facts, an organization that has run newspaper ads comparing unions to Kim Jong-il’s authoritarian North Korean regime and endorsed other ads comparing unions to Nazis, produced and paid for the 40-second ad, which ran in the Washington DC television market just before halftime ended. Watch it:

The ad’s claim that just 10 percent of current union members voted to form the union may be true, but it is incredibly misleading. Federal law mandates that more than 50 percent of a company’s workforce must vote in favor of the formation of a union. Most current union members, however, join unions that were formed years before and know that the union exists when they take the job.

The ad’s implication that the Employee Rights Act — a national right-to-work law — would put money in workers’ pockets is also misleading. According to the Economic Policy Institute, right-to-work laws cost workers up to $1,500 a year and also lead to reduced pensions and health care coverage.

Super Bowl broadcasters have traditionally banned ads that advocate for political causes. Year after year, though, it seems that ban doesn’t extend to misleading anti-union ads paid for by corporate front-groups that don’t disclose their donors.



Author pic
ABOUT Travis Waldron

Travis Waldron is a reporter/blogger for ThinkProgress.org at the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Travis grew up in Louisville, Kentucky, and holds a BA in journalism and political science from the University of Kentucky. Before coming to ThinkProgress, he worked as a press aide at the Health Information Center and as a staffer on Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway’s 2010 Senate campaign. He also interned at National Journal’s Hotline and was a sports writer and political columnist at the Kentucky Kernel, the University of Kentucky’s daily student newspaper.

I have been a union member

I have been a union member for most of my adulthood. Management and the Big Business hate unions for obvious reasons. They cannot control, manipulate and mistreat unionized work force like they do with no-union. They have to pay unionized workers a fair pay and provide better working conditions. Those will obviously come out of their outrageous bonuses. This is why you see bullshit adds like the above.

afeschyn's picture

First, the Indy 500; now, the

First, the Indy 500; now, the race to the bottom courtesy of “right to work, ” Mitch Daniels, the Indiana General Assembly, and corporations and billionaires who view the middle class as surplus people.

Without a middle class we are just another banana republic. Through collective bargaining, labor unions give voice to those who would not otherwise be heard. Corporations and billionaires deserve no more a say in this country and state's direction than you or I. In fact, they deserve less, as there are far more of us. Governor Daniels and company overreached when they forced right to work on us. Hopefully “right to work” can be undone by a less ideological governor and legislature.

Unions are helpful not only

Unions are helpful not only to it's own individual members, but also raise the standard of similar non-union jobs as well. Until union members earn enough to get into the 1% rich catagory, I'm all for them. Our current tax laws only tax the poor and middle class. The tax brackets stop at $380,000. That is just upper upper Middle Class. The existing tax brackets don't even tax the lower rich ($400,00 to $600,000.), or the middle rich ($600,000 to $1,000,000.) or the upper middle rich ($1,000,000 to $2,000,000.) or the super rich ( all the earners of $2,000,000. or more). This is the problem with our existing tax code. We need "20 Brackets to $20,000,000. and a top marginal rate of 60%"

NFL players are all union

NFL players are all union members. The least they could have done is put some large sticker on their helmets to protest the new Indiana right-to-work-for-less law.

The politicians are simply

The politicians are simply doing the dirty work for what appears to be big industry, but the ones in the shadows are the Federal Reserve Banks, its member banks and international banks. The Federal Reserve is not Federal, but a cartel of private banks that control the money of this country. They answer to no one in the US Government.
Take a few days and Goggle: Monopoly of the Federal Reserve Bank. Understand that this is not an easy subject to understand, the banks want it that way.
Consider the TARP and bailout of the banks. The US Treasury borrowed the Trillions from the same banks, and gave them the money and we pay interest on it. Just how insulting is that?
Read up on the subject, and see who is the real enemy of working class America. Paul Volker, former Fed Chairman said the middle class makes too much money and they need to be suppressed.

Enuf. The article describes

Enuf.
The article describes the dissemination of the unions. Politicians are blamed, but they are owned by big business and they are owned by the banks through debt. If you eliminate a union, it better secures the debt payments.
What did the twin trade towers have anything to do with this?

What does this have to do

What does this have to do with this article? Just another anti-Fed screed. Next - the twin towers was an inside job.

100% of my co-workers and I

100% of my co-workers and I signed on to join our union! (and darned glad we did)

All people have to do is read

All people have to do is read the history of the labor movement in the United States. . . A count of the bodies . . . Ludlow Colorado - Women and children put out of the company towns housing - living in tents - in the dead of Winter and the Pikerton Guards opening fire on them (orders from New Hyde Park - no dirty hands there???) The Coal Mines strikes and the National Guard called out to protect the SCABS crossing the picket lines. . .
. . This did not begin with empty words and will not go away with them - you push people into a corner and legally steal their rights ????

Sorry for the double posting.

Sorry for the double posting. There seemed to be some problem with the EDIT feature.

I read the article and then

I read the article and then read each comment. I thought I had died and gone to heaven. I'm so pissed off at the never-ending verbal diarrhea from mentally constipated people and members of the media spouting off at unions. The worst is the vitriolic diatribe you often get EVEN FROM UNION MEMBERS.

That's why propaganda ads like the one for the Super Bowl are so damned effective. They're preaching to the choir because so many of the uninformed know-it-alls already believe that shite or at least suspect it is true.

I ran the elementary substitute teachers' union in Toronto for 10 years and still could never believe the antipathy and the apathy towards the union. I can tell you categorically that I wasn't milking the members for their dues. I WORKED FOR NOTHING. I fought hundreds of grievances and attended scores of arbitration hearings. I often represented members PRO BONO at Unemployment Insurance hearings.

The middle-class' decline has mirrored the decline in union membership. My undying hope is that the "unwashed masses" one day wake up to the realisation that, with unions gone, they have no one in their corners. The Corporatocracy are their real enemy, not any of the "...isms" that they've been propagandised from birth to fear.

My 2¢. Thanks for listening.

I read the article and then

I read the article and then read each comment. I thought I had died and gone to heaven. I'm so pissed off at the never-ending verbal diarrhea from mentally constipated people and members of the media spouting off at unions. The worst is the vitriolic diatribe you often get EVEN FROM UNION MEMBERS.

That's why propaganda ads like the one for the Super Bowl are so damned effective. They're preaching to the choir because so many of the uninformed know-it-alls already believe that shite or at least suspect it is true.

I ran the elementary substitute teachers' union in Toronto for 10 years and still could never believe the antipathy and the apathy towards the union. I can tell you categorically that I wasn't milking the members for their dues. I WORKED FOR NOTHING. I fought hundreds of grievances and attended scores of arbitration hearings. I often represented members PRO BONO at Unemployment Insurance hearings.

The middle-class' decline has mirrored the decline in union membership. My undying hope is that the "unwashed masses" one day wake up to the realisation that, with unions gone, they have no one in their corners. The Corporatocracy are their real enemy, not any of the "...isms" that they've been propagandised from birth to fear.

My 2¢. Thanks for listening.

To achieve their goals, "the

To achieve their goals, "the powers that be" must first defeat organized labor.

Organized labor became illegal in the early days of Nazi Germany. We are at serious risk of repeating history.

We already see many examples of ultra-nationalism and near worship of all things military. The nation is in grave danger.

Unbelievable such rhetoric

Unbelievable such rhetoric could be presented on the Super Bowl, an event watched by all classes. This is corporate rule - Fascist. One only has to think about the kind of funding required to air such an ad. Any work without a union has the same kind of freedom as free sheep among free wolves!

Let's see. "Takes so much out

Let's see. "Takes so much out of my check"? My monthly dues were $23.36. My WEEKLY checks were usually in the area of $1000, without overtime. And then my working dues were 5 cents an hour. Since i made around $25 an hour, that meant that I was grossing (before taxes and that "huge" $23.36 a month) $24.95 an hour. With free health insurance, including dental and vision, including a retirement package I didn't pay a cent for, and free training whenever I wanted or needed it, where I only paid for my books. Gee, I never looked at it that way. That damn IBEW was paying me to be a member. Damn them!

The only union workers who

The only union workers who would bash unions are imaginary ones in a paid ad against unions. I'm betting each of those actors has a SAG/Equity union membership and a good contract.

The IBEW works the same way

The IBEW works the same way when management lets us Bosatsu. we have a problem though when the person not carrying their weight is either a minority or a woman. I had a black woman working on a job I was running that wasn't worth a damn. Her fellow apprentices wanted her gone. I wanted her gone. But the company AND the local didn't want to upset her, because they were afraid she would go EEOE on us. My union ticket guarantees employers will get an employee that knows how to do the job and that has pride in his craftsmanship. I did some work in Arizona (a right to work state) a few years back. The electricians doing the fire alarm work were non-union. It looked like kindergartners had slapped it up on the walls. I got paid OT to fix it. I also got paid OT to fix the shoddy work that some of the non-unions electricians had done with power and light distribution piping.

An honest day's pay, for an

An honest day's pay, for an honest day's work... Period... That is the raison d'etre of any Union...
I watch non Union carpenters with half the skills and no leverage, busting their asses with no medical and no retirement... When their body breaks--as it will--they are left on the street, in emergency rooms, with hungry children and a burden to the taxpayer...
My promise, as a Union Carpenter, is to sweat every day, and bring profit to you... My training, my skills, my drug-free life, is geared to making myself employable and worth that little extra from you to ensure that I can protect my family, home and future...
The strength of a union is in this attitude. We know it, and we run off every lazy bum that shows up on our job... We self regulate... Within two days of a new hire showing up, We ALL know their attitude towards hard work, and we have no qualms about chasing someone off the job site who will not pull their weight...
I can't speak about other trades, but that is how it is in the Heavy Construction Industry here in Seattle.

I really wish that local

I really wish that local Musician Unions were there for musicians that work outside of the Symphonic, Philhamonic, or Operatic orchestras.

I have not seen any help for working musicians in my entire musical career, over 38 yrs now. outside of Benefit Concerts to raise money for certain causes, such as for ailing musicians. These do not tend to be paid gigs.

We have no Union to help us earn a living wage, so most musicians need a "day job".

The fact is that we, as musicians, have worked hard to become professionals and perfect our skills. We have to practice and rehearse for hours in order to present a skilled performance.

Mentoring does take place but is haphazard since we don't have any Apprenticeship programs like other types of Unions do. If we had I would have learned a lot more and a lot faster.

Many young people think that just being able to play a few chords on a guitar will make them a "superstar". They don't see the work ethic that is required to do this job. They don't know about stage presence, nor do they know that when they take a job for a $20 per person gig, they are hurting themselves and their own future.

Many musicians are still being paid the same as they were when I first started my career. If I get $50 for one night (4hrs) of work in a week, I consider myself lucky. I have made more but mostly less due to club owners' lack of understanding our needs and the preparation time involved.

We are not seen as anything but a means for drawing customers into bars and restaurants. As one club owner said, "put butts in the seats". I felt, as a professional, that I was supposed to be there to entertain the customers of the venue and not to bring in business, especially when the club owners DON'T even put the advertising in place to let the public know what is going on in "their" place of business. They expect us to use our own resources, which can be minimal, to get those "butts in the seat".

I am good at what I do. I am a professional.

I deserve health care, dental care, and a pension. I would love to know that others will stand up for my right to work w/ protection from employers who expect us to pick up the tab if there is not enough of an audience for them to make their "bottom line"...even when we perform the full nite in front of an almost empty house due to their lack of advertising.

I worry that there will be no one to willing to play at a Benefit Concert, for free, in order to bury me. I can't afford to pay for life insurance.

I am a trained singer who is Good at what I do. Other professional musicians want to play for my jobs. These are often so skilled that they can turn down jobs if it is less than a certain amount.

Unions have been instrumental in creating the Middle Class that makes our country strong. That is now under attack by those who think that what Unions do is detrimental to the "employee" when it really is the "management" doing what it can to save on their bottom line.

Without Union labor businesses would not be able to produce quality goods and services. Businesses who refuse to work with Unions are most likely to send their manufacturing and service work to other countries.
Well paid, local labor and service employees will bring their paychecks into the local banks to cash and do their shopping in local businesses. These include the places I work.

Just because there are a lot of Highly paid musicians out there means that there are 1000s more. equally gifted musicians out there "schlokking" through the local entertainment industry of concerts and clubs around our country.

Some musicians have to get Food Stamps because they can't afford food after they pay their rent, keep their transportation in good condition, pay for car insurance, keep their equiptment in good working condition, acquire and maintain a performance wardrobe, as well as maintaining their health and appearance.

Lots of people out here need Unions to get things rolling in our country, again. We need Unions we can count on to help us to our skilled work and still have a living wage.

I know musicians and performers are not the only ones who often don't get thought of in the need for Unions but we do need the power of all to fight for the rights of those in need.

without unions, americans

without unions, americans (others too) would be heading back into economic slavery. chained to our work, and watching shadows (our own) and believing that's reality. we've been there before. unions are our only defense against the MONSTER among us!!!!!

Corrupt Unions are a

Corrupt Unions are a necessary evil, we can thank them for our vacation pay sick pay Holiday pay and various other benefits that we as clock punching laborers enjoy. Were it not for Unions our children would have jobs( think coal mines ).Study our history a little closer and see how the oil Barons and railroad magnates made their fortunes (think cheap exploited labor.....Chinese and European Immigrants ) building railroads subways and sk scrapers. sick pay holiday pay vacation pay taxes were unheard of. Our manufacturers moved to the other side of the world so that they can have children do the labor. Greed corrupted the corporations and the unions. The person that can define the line between Profit and Greed deserves the Pulitzer Prize and could very well be the one person to put this country back to being the shining beacon it once was for any entrepenur. A small business man paying a "living wage" not a minimum wage knowing and taking an interest in his employees usually thrives in business , as a business man I also know that I have to make a profit for lack of a better word on my employees if not so then I might as well stay just self employed and save my self the extra responsibilities of having someone work for me. There you have it my thoughts on life liberty and the never-ending persuit of ..... ( key Phrases here Profit or Greed and Working or Exploiting)....

the Union members are

the Union members are responsible for the union corruption by the leadership. They have the option to vote the leadership out of office.
You know this is hard to do, but well worth the effort.

Unions are the reason for the Middle Class. Without union labor, our economic problems would be even more severe.

That was only the most

That was only the most blatant and obvious assault on the 99%. We shouldn't forget that nearly every super-bowl ad was an exercise in manipulating consciousness, deceiving consumers, stimulating destructive materialism and otherwise amplifying the 1%s control over our lives. The whole discussion of the place and meaning of advertising in our lives and the alternatives to it is one that still needs to take front-and-center in our dialog on a just and sustainable world.

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