Card Check for Thee, Not Me

Labor-funded Media Matters for America forces secret ballot election in unionization drive

Media Matters SEIU
April 22, 2014

Despite huge donations from the Service Employees International Union and numerous blog posts advocating for unionization in other industries, Media Matters for America is actively resisting allowing its workers to join the union.

The SEIU has donated $150,000 to the liberal attack group between 2009 and 2012.  Those donations represented more than 20 percent of the $735,000 Media Matters took in from unions, including the National Education Association, AFL-CIO, and American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Workers, during that 4 year span.

Those donations have not helped SEIU win any favor in its attempt to unionize Media Matters employees. MMFA executives refused to recognize the card check campaign conducted by SEIU Local 500.

When the Maryland-based union presented signed cards from employees wishing to unionize to management, Media Matters gave "no reply," according to NLRB filings obtained by the Center for Union Facts (CUF). The union will now have to win a secret ballot election if it hopes to organize the nonprofit.

CUF executive director Rick Berman said that MMFA’s dismissal of the card check campaign highlights the group’s hypocrisy on labor issues.

"Despite unions pouring $735,000 since 2009 into Media Matters, its chairman David Brock won’t even so much as reply to an organizing petition," Berman said.

Media Matters has pushed the union agenda in its writing and has criticized secret ballot union elections—the same kind that the union is forcing SEIU to conduct. MMFA published multiple articles in favor of the so-called Employee Free Choice Act that would make it easier for unions to organize through card check and prevented employers from demanding secret ballot elections.

Media Matters researcher Meagan Hatcher-Mays criticized "a wave of Republican anti-union legislation [that] has placed obstacles between workers and union representatives and disrupted opportunities for workplace productivity." Hatcher-Mays cited a Wall Street Journal editorial that noted card check campaigns are more likely to produce union victories than secret ballots.

The Journal’s "characterization of the card check process as a ‘deceptive procedure,’ is wholly misleading. Research shows that secret ballot elections, which the WSJ suggests are somehow more equitable than card checks, are deeply flawed," Hatcher-Mays wrote.

House Republicans have fought to enshrine the right to a secret ballot unionization election in federal labor law. Rep. Phil Roe (R., Tenn.) introduced the Secret Ballot Protection Act in 2013 in order to protect workers from coercive card check campaigns. The legislation has failed to make it to the Senate, which is controlled by Democrats.

"The secret ballot affords everyone the freedom to vote their conscience in privacy without fear of retribution or coercion," Roe told the Washington Free Beacon in June of last year. "We owe it to every hardworking American to ensure this fundamental right."

Berman said that Media Matters has every right to conduct a secret ballot election, even if it is fighting to deny that right to other employers.

"Brock and Media Matters may talk the Big Labor-funded talk, but when their own workplace is on the line, they won't walk the Big Labor walk," he said.

Neither SEIU, nor Media Matters responded to requests for comment.