The Minnesota Democratic Party has filed complaints alleging that advertisements attacking proposed changes to union organizing rules — and U.S. Senate candidate Al Franken — violate election laws by spreading false information. The grievances, lodged with the Minnesota Office of Administrative Hearings, target ads run by the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace and Minnesotans for Employee Freedom.
“Two front groups have been spreading false statements about the Employee Free Choice Act — lies that Sen. Norm Coleman has gladly repeated on many occasions, even after labor leaders met with him and explained that the statements were untruthful and that the act in fact guarantees a secret ballot,” DFL party chair Brian Melendez said in a statement.
The Employee Free Choice Act would allow unions to be recognized if more than half of employees sign cards indicating that they support collective bargaining. Currently employers can demand that an election be held to determine if workers endorse joining a union. The law would also allow for binding arbitration if the two sides cannot agree on an initial labor contract after 90 days of negotiations and increased penalties for companies that illegally fire employees for pro-union activities.
The Coalition for a Democratic Workplace and Minnesotans for Employee Freedom have been running print and television ads attacking Franken for his support of the legislation. The television spot depicts Franken as a tool of mafia-backed labor organizations. A “Reality Check” segment by WCCO’s Pat Kessler determined that it “misrepresents legislation that would make it easier for workers to organize unions.”
Under Minnesota’s election laws it is a gross misdemeanor to disseminate campaign information “that is false, and that the person knows is false or communicates to others with reckless disregard of whether it is false.”