Anti-Card Check Video Game Portrays Union Reps As Thugs (Again)

July 15, 2009 9:36 am ET — Matt Finkelstein

Opposition to the Employee Free Choice Act has, of late, devolved into all-out union bashing.  It's no longer about protecting the secret ballot, workers' rights, or even small business. The strategy now is simply to depict labor leaders as thugs.

Earlier this month, lobbyist Rick Berman's misnamed Employee Freedom Action Committee launched a $1 million ad campaign portraying union reps as Sopranos-inspired mobsters.  Now, Americans for Tax Reform, the ultra-conservative group led by Grover Norquist, has made union-hate an interactive experience with their online video game, "Card Checked."

In the game, the user plays a tattoo artist working in an environment where the Employee Free Choice Act has become law.  Union representatives follow you around trying to intimidate you into signing a card.  If you refuse, they ramp up their threats and turn to violence.  At one point, a pro-union co-worker is described as specializing in "peace signs, rainbows, and other unoriginal and conformist hippie symbols."

Once the union is recognized, the labor bosses use your dues for buying luxury goods and going on vacation.  Eventually, the union does so much damage that the shop is forced to close and you're out of a job.  The game's final screen reads, "GAME OVER, You Lose!"

All that said, "Card Checked" isn't really much of a game.  As Eddie Vale of the AFL-CIO said, "I'm not sure if this 'game' is part of Michael Steele's hip hop revolution but it's just as lame. As anyone who actually grew up playing Atari or Nintendo will know, calling this a video game is as accurate as their lies about the Employee Free Choice Act, which would help grow the middle class and make the economy work for everyone again."