Today, former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) ran an op-ed in the Philadelphia Inquirer claiming that passage of the Employee Free Choice Act would enable unions to act like mafioso from Mario Puzo’s “The Godfather,” forcing American workers to face an offer they can’t refuse:
It is called card check because all union organizers would have to do to certify a union at any workplace is get a majority of employees to sign a card authorizing a union. The legislation even allows union organizers to visit an employee’s house up to four times to “persuade” him or her to sign the card. Vito Corleone’s famous line again comes to mind.
Santorum is not alone with these sentiments. In the Wall Street Journal, columnist Kimberley Strassel claimed today that the Employee Free Choice Act “would allow [unions] to intimidate more workers into joining.”
These assertions are complete bunk. The Employee Free Choice Act merely puts the decision of whether or not to unionize back into the hands of workers, instead of leaving it up to their employers. Under current law, when faced with a union organizing drive 25 percent of employers fire at least one pro-union worker; 51 percent threaten to close a worksite if the union prevails; and, 91 percent force employees to attend one-on-one anti-union meetings with their supervisors. But Santorum doesn’t seem too worried about this variety of strong-arming.
Of course, Santorum may have more behind his views than a genuine desire to keep the pro-employer status quo. During his Senate days, he was considerably aided by Americans for Job Security (AJS), a “faux group of secret corporate dollars” whose top concern right now is derailing the Free Choice Act.
Though the organization refuses to disclose its membership, according to Source Watch it spent millions on advertising to support Santorum in his failed 2006 reelection bid. Back in 2005, the Philadelphia Daily News noted that “Santorum doesn’t seem too concerned about who is behind Americans for Job Security, a Virginia-based anti-tax group that refuses to identify contributors. He declined to tell one of our reporters whether his financial backers should step out of the shadows.”
For its part, AJS is currently trying to discredit the Free Choice Act by running ads calling it a “union boss bailout.” Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) — who is named in one of the ads — called them “sleazy and intentionally confusing advertisements,” and “unfair to those who deserve an honest, fact-based debate.”
So in the end, it seems, it was Santorum who found an offer he couldn’t refuse: siding with a “sham front group that would be better called Corporations Influencing Elections.”