Today Minnesotans for Employee Freedom (MEF) challenged Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) Party Chairman Brian Melendez to a debate over “card-check,” an issue that has played a large role in Minnesota’s United States Senate campaign. MEF, a grass-roots coalition dedicated to protecting Minnesotans’ right to vote on the job, has been running ads in the state highlighting Senator Al Franken and other Democrats’ support for a deceptive piece of legislation that would effectively eliminate every Minnesotan’s right to a private ballot vote in union organizing elections.
This Wednesday, Melendez held a press conference criticizing those ads, saying that the claims made about the card-check legislation were “a lie.”
Minnesotans for Employee Freedom challenged Melendez to defend those statements in a public forum.
“Mr. Melendez is complicit in the union bosses’ scheme to avoid private voting and real elections,” MEF Steering Committee Chairman King Banaian said. “Even the presidents of two international unions have indicated their agenda when they recently stated that in union organizing.”
“There’s no need to subject the workers to an election.”
– Bruce Raynor, UNITE HERE union president
“We don’t do elections.”
– Mike Fishman, high-ranking SEIU union leader
“I would hope Mr. Melendez will join me in a public debate to determine who is telling the truth about how this law will impact working Minnesotans.”
You can read the entirety of the letter sent to Mr. Melendez today, after the jump.
Dear Mr. Melendez-
The 2008 election season is set to be a defining moment in American labor history.
The Employee Free Choice Act —which the labor union movement has put at the forefront of its 2008 political agenda—has far-reaching implications for America’s workforce. The economic, social, and political ramifications will be felt for generations to come.
Our organization feels passionately about the negative impact that this legislation would have on the American economy and individual rights. And it is clear from your criticism of our advertising and your defense of card-check unionization that you feel equally passionate in your position.
Thus, in the great history of American political discourse, I would like to challenge you to debate the Employee Free Choice Act and its impact on the American workforce.
I believe that a debate would provide an ample opportunity to better understand the issue, and would provide a forum to determine which side is telling the truth about how this legislation will impact working Minnesotans. The discourse created by the debate gives “card-check” the attention and media focus it rightly deserves.
We propose that a 1-2 hour debate take place at the historic State Office Building in St. Paul this August. Our office will work out any further details with you and I hope that we can agree on terms in a timely fashion.
Chairman of the Minnesotans for Employee Freedom Steering Committee