The blog of the Commerce and Industry Association of New Jersey is unwilling to let UAW President Ron Gettelfinger get away with one of the more outrageous broadsides in the ongoing "debate" over EFCA.  Late last week, CIANJ highlighted a response to Gettelfinger’s recent Detroit News piece.  Apparently unable to muster a compelling, objective argument in support of EFCA, Mr. Gettelfinger instead devoted a column to tarring those who would oppose EFCA — and use the legitimate, lawful rules of the Senate to do so — with the broad-brushed smear of racism.

After introductory allusions to the Civil Rights struggles of the 1960’s, racist employers, and "cowardly terrorists" who would attack black voters in the night, Gettelfinger submits:

The effort to stop social progress was led by Dixiecrats — Southern Democrats who stood for the privileged elite against the will of a majority of the American people. Today, their spiritual heirs have changed political parties, but they still reward the fortunate few who hold wealth and power and trample the needs of everyone else.

CIANJ’s piece extensively quotes a response from Coalition for a Democratic Workplace’s Chairman Brian Worth.  Elsewhere, Mr. Worth’s rebuttal appropriately calls Mr. Gettelfinger on his unfortunate diatribe:

UAW President Ron Gettelfinger crossed the line when he injected race into the debate over whether American workers should have the right to vote in private during union organizing elections ("Worker rights bill deserves debate, vote," Feb. 6). By comparing opponents of the Employee Free Choice Act to the Southern senators who blocked civil rights legislation in the 1960s, Gettelfinger undermines his own credibility and does a disservice to the labor movement.

Ironically, if one were to lend any legitimacy by continuing analysis of Mr. Gettelfinger’s analogy, it should be striking that it was the right of African-Americans to vote freely — and by secret ballot, protected from the coercion and intimidation of the "cowardly terrorists" — that so many brave people fought for during the Civil Rights era. 

How undermining the protection afforded by a secret ballot in representation elections better protects voters remains a question EFCA proponents are unable to answer.