Frank Strategies: The Blog

The 5 Best Videos on the Web: Card Check Edition
December 16, 2008, 11:48 am
Filed under: Online Video, Unions / Labor

One of the first big battles in Congress next year will likely be over something known as card check, which is a term that most Americans haven’t even heard yet.

At issue is a bill ironically titled the Employee Free Choice Act. I say ironically because rather than promoting “free choice” for employees, it would actually take away the secret ballot that workers currently have when they decide whether or not to form or join a union. Instead of a secret ballot, union organizers would be able to confront – some would say intimidate – individual workers and encourage them to sign a card stating that they want to unionize.

The stated goal of the so-called card check bill is to unionize more businesses across America, which would essentially spread that fantastic UAW business model to every corner of the land. Hey – it worked great in Detroit, right?

Anyway, the card check battle is already heating up in Washington, on the nation’s TV airwaves – and on video sharing sites like YouTube. I’ve scoured the web in search of the best card check videos out there in the hope of learning more about how we can better wage this battle in the coming months. Here are the five best ones I found:

5. Coercive “Card Check” Union Organizing Victims Speak Out — by National Right to Work:

Why It Works: The use of real workers who have been the victims of intimidation by union organizers really drives the issue home in an emotional, easy-to-understand way.

How it Could Be Better: Some of the cuts are a little rough and abrupt, but an unpolished product is often better for online audiences than a perfectly produced video. Also, the white Right to Work logo next to each worker’s name is a little distracting, as is the constant crawl at the bottom of the screen.

4. EFCA Exposed: Former Union Organizers Spill the Beans – by EFCA Exposed, Labor Relations Institute:

Why It Works: This video delivers a creative twist on the ones that feature real workers who have been victims of intimidation by actually showcasing the intimidators – former union organizers who admit to manipulation, deception and intimidation to get workers to sign union cards. One of the former organizers, Salvatore (above), is right out of central casting. The guy could have guest starred on The Sopranos.

How It Could Be Better: The video assumes the viewer is already knows what the card check bill is all about. There’s no real background provided, and the shorthand “EFCA” acronym is used, which could confuse a lot of potential allies.

3. You Don’t Want to Meet Bill – by U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Why It Works: If you want to convince people that union bosses can be intimidating jerks, you can’t do much better than to show an actual union boss being an intimidating jerk in a candid, unscripted, moment. What worker in his right mind would want this guy in their face when the secret union ballot is abolished?!

How It Could Be Better: Contrary to the video’s title, I actually would like to meet Bill – at least virtually. I’d love to see the Chamber post a video with Bill’s backstory – the unedited video, information about who Bill is, what union he belongs to, the circumstances surrounding his outburst, etc. The video above obviously had the constraints of a 30-second TV ad, but those same constraints don’t exist online. Tell us more about this jerk, please!

2. Ashwin Madia Can Run But He Can’t Hide – by Employee Freedom

Why It Works: This video clearly shows just how powerful one inquisitive and persistent person with a camera can be. In the video, Congressional candidate Ashwin Madia from Minnesota’s Third District is shown literally running away from somebody who asks him why he supports the Employee Free Choice Act. You’d expect a potential Member of Congress to be able to answer a simple question from a voter on the campaign trail, yet he literally runs away like a frightened little girl. Not his finest moment, obviously. Fortunately, Madia lost his election in November, 48% – 41%.

How It Could Be Better: This video is great, but it doesn’t include any kind of call to action at the end. Why not urge viewers to visit the website of Madia’s campaign opponent? Or some other anti-Madia or anti-card-check website? The content is great, but it doesn’t do anything to get the viewer to actually do anything at the end.

1. EFCA Means Intimidation – by Union Facts

Why It Works: Like the Right to Work video above, the use of real workers is very effective. The fact that every worker interviewed in the video is female and most of them are ethnic minorities only makes that emotional connection even more powerful. Also, the stark black background, red line and chilling sound effects (did your blood pressure rise a little when you heard that knocking-door sound effect?) further the emotional impact. Overall, I think this is the best produced, most effective card check video online right now – informative, emotional, interesting, and relevant.

How It Could Be Better: Clocking in at more than four and a half minutes, the video’s a little on the long side. Research shows that most people don’t watch online videos for more than a minute or so. That said, this video’s target audience isn’t the same one that’s looking for the latest celebrity meltdown, so it’s probably not a dealbreaker.

Honorable Mention: Obama Girl on the Employee Free Choice Act – by American Right at Work

Yes, she’s a complete idiot. She obviously has no idea what the bill would do. In fact, she can’t even say the name of the bill without stumbling over the second word. The video is devoid of any substance whatsoever.

But she’s hot. And semi-famous. Which is why nearly 8,000 people have clicked to see her deliver one shallow line about the bill. That’s more than four of the five good videos above and one of the 20 most viewed online videos on this issue. Take that, Salvatore!

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