Yesterday, the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) — a bill that makes it easier for workers to form unions and prevent employer harassment and intimidation — was introduced in both the House and Senate. The bill allows workers to unionize if a majority agrees, rather than forcing them to go through the months-long and often fruitless process of negotiating with powerful employers for the right to organize.
With a multi-million dollar campaign to defeat the bill under way, Fox News has enthusiastically taken up the anti-union, Big Business talking points. Even putting aside the network’s frequent right-wing guests, Fox News hosts describe EFCA using anti-union rhetoric while constantly distorting the truth about the legislation:
— BILL HEMMER: “Soon Americans who want to say no to unions might not be able to vote in private.”
— BILL O’REILLY: “Union officials have an open invitation to appear here on The Factor. They won’t, because their arguments for socialism won’t stand up.”
— MARTHA MACCULLUM: “This is going to make it very tough for small businesses to function. … They might have to lay people off!”
Watch some of the worst examples from the last 72 hours:
No matter how many times it’s been debunked, the Fox hosts keep repeating the falsehood that workers will no longer have access to a secret ballot under EFCA. The legislation does not eliminate the secret ballot. The bill would simply allow workers to choose whether to have a majority sign-up or a normal election process. And as American Rights At Work points out, a secret ballot is no guarantee to a fair election. Under current rules, union organizers do not have equal access to voters, the right to free speech, funding and resources equal to employers, or the ability to bring about elections in a timely manner.
More than concern for the secret ballot, the Fox hosts make it clear they are simply against unions. When they insist that union bosses — not employers — are intimidating workers, or when they declare that unions that drive up wages and benefits are harmful for Big Business, it’s clear whose side they’re on — and it’s not the American worker’s.