The RNC Doesn't Know How To Read

July 13, 2009 4:37 pm ET — Matt Finkelstein

Despite the RNC's "research," the Economic Policy Institute did NOT warn that the Employee Free Choice Act "would expose workers to harassment."

As President Obama prepared to meet with union leaders today, the Republican National Committee released an extensive document claiming the administration was giving unions "payback" for political support.  Obama has always championed pro-worker policies, which is probably why unions backed him in the first place, but it's not really worth debating the chicken and the egg.  The salient point is that the RNC desperately needs a lesson in reading comprehension.

Among other errors, the RNC submitted this bit of "research":

Liberal Think Tank Says Card Check Would Expose Workers To Harassment. "A study released by the progressive Economic Policy Institute found that during the election process, 'it is standard practice for workers to be subjected to threats, interrogation, harassment, surveillance, and retaliation for union activity.'" (Liz Wolgemuth, "5 Things To Know About The Employee Free Choice Act," US News & World Report, 6/24/09)

Confused? Let's try to clear this up. Here's what the "liberal" Economic Policy Institute says:

...it is standard practice for workers to be subjected to threats, interrogation, harassment, surveillance, and retaliation for union activity.

Which is true. Under the current system, workers often face threats and other forms of "retaliation for union activity"...FROM THEIR EMPLOYERS! 

While there's no evidence that "card check" would lead to harassment by unions, here are some facts about worker intimidation (all courtesy of EPI):

  • Coercion and intimidation by employers is increasing

So, clearly, EPI was not warning that "card check would expose workers to harassment." A more appropriate header would have been "The Employee Free Choice Act Is Necessary To Protect Workers From Intimidation."

The good news is that the RNC apparently cares about worker harassment.  Here's hoping they change their tune (yeah, right) now that they're aware of their mistake.    

For more on what the Economic Policy Institute really thinks about the Employee Free Choice Act, click here.

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