Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Minnesota's Senate Race: Coleman v. Franken

I don't know if the Minnesota Senate race between Norm Coleman and Al Franken (yes, that Al Franken) is interesting to those outside Minnesota. Just stop me if it's not, because I'm not sure I'm all that interested in it. But I've been amused by Norm's advertising woes.

A group supporting Norm Coleman, the incumbent Republican, for Minnesota Senate is running this ad:

I haven't seen the Sopranos, so I didn't know who the narrator was; I just thought the ad had used a stereotype of a mob boss, thereby stereotyping the unions as mob-controlled. But I misunderstood a little bit; I guess the ad was using an actor portraying a stereotype of a mob boss, thereby stereotyping the unions as mob-controlled.

But besides that, the ad is disingenuous about Franken's position on the issue which is a bit more complicated than one can tell from the ad. From The Union News:
Since 1935, Hunter [secretary-treasurer of the Minnesota AFL-CIO] explained, federal law has provided two routes to union recognition: when a majority of workers in a workplace sign union authorization cards or when a majority of workers vote for union representation in an election supervised by the National Labor Relations Board.

Under current law, however, the employer can refuse to recognize the signed authorization cards. Instead, the employer can insist on an NLRB election. Then, "they use the election process to intimidate employees," Hunter noted. "We don't think that's a fair and democratic way to have an election."

The proposed Employee Free Choice Act gives workers, not employers, the choice to decide whether union authorization cards or an NLRB election determine union recognition, Hunter said. The legislation would recognize a union if a simple majority of workers in the workplace sign union authorization cards. Hunter emphasized that the legislation does not eliminate secret ballot elections: an NLRB election would take place if 30 percent of the workers in the workplace requested an election.
The AFL-CIO condemns the ads.

And then there's this one that Coleman's campaign is running:

Observers have wondered whether Normie and his wife were actually in the same room to film this or whether the wife was filmed separately and added later. Given that rumors abound that Normie and his wife are estranged and that he's a notorious skirt-chaser, you'd think the campaign wouldn't want to feed those rumors by producing this odd-looking ad.

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