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The Cameraman Always Wins

by Will Evans
Oct 24, 2008

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Why do people assault cameramen? Don't they realize they have cameras?

It's a continuing mystery, as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce uses one angry-man-versus-cameraman confrontation to blast union-friendly legislation and the Democrats who support it.

The new ad, airing in states like Minnesota and Oregon with key Senate races, shows footage of Kentucky AFL-CIO President Bill Londrigan with his hands all over someone's camera, threatening, "I'm going to take this camera and stick it somewhere where you don't want it." The ad is meant to suggest that workers could face this kind of treatment from "union bosses" — if Senate Democrats can enact a bill that would let workers simply sign a petition to unionize a workplace, rather than hold a secret-ballot vote. Londrigan was reportedly not amused.

The Chamber is in the midst of its biggest election-season effort yet, committing some $35 million to help pro-business candidates in House and Senate races. A big part of the campaign focuses on opposing that pro-union bill, called the Employee Free Choice Act. (It's awkward to oppose "free choice," so one business group re-names it the "Employee FORCED Choice Act," helpfully retaining the orginial acronym.)

A top issue on Election Day? Hardly. It doesn't even make this list in those "top issues for voters" polls. But it's a huge issue to the business community, which is busy trying to sell it as something voters need to care about.

We've had the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace pound away against the legislation. And the business-backed Employee Freedom Action Committee has raised $20 million and is spending it on TV ads. (Here's the action committee's latest.) Americans for Job Security also got into the act with new ads targetting the Act. All of groups are using the issue against Democratic candidates in hot Senate races.

Meanwhile — perhaps ironically? — the AFL-CIO just launched a multi-state radio campaign "urging citizens to vote and telling them how to be prepared to protect their vote on Election Day."

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