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Employee Freedom Action Committee
Employee Freedom Action Committee Print
July 30, 2008

The Employee Freedom Action Committee (EFAC) is a political spin-off of lobbyist Richard Berman‘s anti-union front group, the Center for Union Facts.  EFAC attacks candidates who support the Employee Free Choice Act.

What is the Employee Freedom Action Committee?

EFAC is a new anti-union front group that attacks Congressional candidates who support the Employee Free Choice Act, a bill that would make it easier for workers to form unions. Behind the scenes, the group is a corporate-funded campaign against workers’ rights. 

Though it often purports to be "pro-worker," or at least "not anti-union," EFAC serves no interests but those of anti-union corporations afraid of their employees having a voice at work.  EFAC and its allies plan to spend tens of millions of dollars into early 2009 in attempts to defeat the Employee Free Choice Act. 

What does the Employee Freedom Action Committee do?

EFAC established itself in several states with contested Congressional campaigns; in addition to a national 501(c)(4) group, EFAC created at least a dozen shallow state-based spinoffs to appear as localized groups.  Its apparent intent is to prevent the election of candidates who would vote for the Employee Free Choice Act in the next Congress. 

Armed deceptive print and radio ads and aggressive associates who track candidates with video cameras, Berman’s EFAC aims to kick up dust in political races at the behest of anonymous anti-union corporations.  EFAC targets races and attacks candidates it wants to portray as vulnerable on workers’ rights issues.  EFAC does not air its own ads on television, as its 501(c)(3) arm, the Center for Union Facts, puts up general anti-union advertising on TV almost everywhere EFAC goes.

Why is the Employee Freedom Action Committee wrong?

EFAC’s main line of attack – that the Employee Free Choice Act somehow takes away so-called "secret ballot" elections for joining a union – is blatantly false.  The Employee Free Choice Act not only strengthens the current process for workers forming unions, but also provides for a more fair and democratic method for men and women to join unions.

Local media outlets in Berman’s target states have done well in exposing the lies of his out-of-state interference campaigns.  A Minnesota publication called EFAC “fake,” and its ads “smears,” while an Oregon paper did its homework and said the group attempts to “mislead voters.”

EFAC has also attempted to claim that the majority sign-up process would open the door to union coercion and intimidation.  However, exactly the opposite is true:  workers in NLRB elections are twice as likely (46 percent vs. 23 percent) as those in majority sign-up campaigns to report that management coerced them to oppose the union. Further, less than one in 20 workers (4.6 percent) who signed a card with a union organizer reported that the presence of the organizer made them feel pressured to sign the card.

In Minnesota, the state’s Democrat-Farmer-Labor party filed a formal complaint against EFAC’s ads that suggest the Employee Free Choice Act eliminates "secret ballot" elections to form unions.  The party asserts that EFAC’s ads break Minnesota law that prohibits "spreading false information." 

Who funds the Employee Freedom Action Committee? 

As with all of Berman’s front groups, EFAC refuses to disclose its funding sources.  But in discussing his first anti-union campaign in 2005, Berman was blunt, acknowledging that “All of my clients are corporations.”  United Press International noted that "the group’s spokesman refused to release the names of its donors or say where its funding came from." At the first group’s inception Berman said that he had raised about $5 million "from companies, trade organizations and individuals," whom he declined to identify.

Where is the Employee Freedom Action Committee active?

EFAC has thrown itself into a number of races in the 2008 election cycle, setting up state-based front groups for a local facade.  EFAC and its entities have attacked these candidates for supporting the Employee Free Choice Act:

Coloradans for Employee Freedom
Senate: Mark Udall
CO-04: Betsy Markey

Kentucky (no official group formed yet)
Senate: Bruce Lunsford

Louisianans for Employee Freedom
Senate: Mary Landrieu
LA-04: Paul Carmouche

Mainers for Employee Freedom
Senate: Tom Allen
ME-01: Chellie Pingree

Minnesotans for Employee Freedom
Senate: Al Franken
MN-03: Ashwin Madia
MN-06: Elwyn Tinklenberg

Mississippi (no official group yet)
Senate: Ronnie Musgrove

Granite Staters for Employee Freedom (New Hampshire)
Senate: Jeanne Shaheen
NH-01: Carol Shea-Porter

Oregonians for Employee Freedom
Senate: Jeff Merkley