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Coalition for a Democratic Workplace

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Navigators was retained by Coalition for a Democratic Workplace (CDW) to defeat card check. With heavy union support, Democrats had just taken control of Congress, and union confidence was high that the so-called Employee Free Choice Act (card check) would pass through Congress. Navigators’s initial situational audit concluded several sobering facts: 1) We would be significantly outspent; 2) We would be significantly out-maneuvered on the grassroots level; and 3) The unions had the votes needed to win.

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Navigators developed, researched and executed a political campaign-style effort on behalf of CDW. The campaign identified key target audiences, developed and researched the most effective messages, provided offensive and defensive tools, and was results-driven with quantifiable metrics for success. Navigators employed three steps in its strategy to defeat card check. First, Navigators changed the “face” of the campaign, making it a fight between union bosses and workers, and branded the private ballot as the symbol of the campaign. Second, Navigators commissioned a poll to determine the correct message the campaign should adopt. Finally, Navigators executed the campaign with print, television and radio ads, and an all-inclusive website promoting the message of the campaign and serving as a one-stop shop of information.

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Unions lost control of the message fight. They wanted the fight to be a debate about the merits of joining a union. Navigators made it a fight about secret ballots and work privacy. Card check died in the Senate when the unions failed to secure the 60 votes needed for passage.