NBC’s Today show is the latest media outlet to include reporting that distorts the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) by relying on falsehoods touted by the bill’s opponents.
The media watchdog group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) issued a media alert on Tuesday about a segment in which Today show host Matt Lauer repeated falsehoods about the EFCA:
The Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) would make it easier for workers to form unions by increasing penalties for employers who violate workers’ right to organize, and by giving workers the right to form a union if a majority signs cards declaring they want one–the so-called “card check” provision.
NBC’s Lauer declared that EFCA “would do away with secret ballots.” This is inaccurate; under the proposed law, workers would still have the right to vote in a National Labor Review Board (NLRB) “secret ballot” election if 30 percent of the workforce signs cards, just as they do now. Under current law, employers rather than workers get to decide whether unionization requires a card check or a vote. The false claim that EFCA would eliminate secret ballots has been a major talking point of anti-EFCA campaigners.
After this, Lauer asked the Wal-Mart CEO what he thought about the EFCA. Not surprisingly, the Wal-Mart CEO said it is “really one of those bills that would be damaging to the American economy long-term.”
Back in 2008, Wal-Mart–anticipating the likely election of a Democratic president–began forcing its employees to attend meetings that argued against the EFCA
Wal-Mart acknowledges that it summoned employees around the country to warn them about the Employee Free Choice Act, which would allow unions to organize companies if more than half the workers signed cards agreeing to join, dispensing with the need for a secret ballot.
Wal-Mart is an incredibly anti-union company and has violated labor laws numerous times in recent years. Wal-Mart has even gone so far as to close stores rather than see them unionized. It’s no surprise that they would actively campaign against the act. Nor is it a surprise that NBC–which is owned by General Electric–would give them a platform to promote these views, as media coverage of the Employee Free Choice Act has repeatedly emphasized business voices over labor voices.