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Berman's Got a Brand New Bag: Professional Unionbuster (Updated)
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August 05, 2008

Guide to Rick Berman Unionbusting for Smithfield

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Evidence obtained by American Rights at Work from public court records shed more light on corporate lobbyist and front group architect Rick Berman's dealings with notorious anti-union company Smithfield Foods.

Earlier this summer, the public got a good look at Berman's business operations from the perspective of a long-term client.  For a six-week period in June-July 2008, court filings available on the federal court docket provided some details about Berman's role in Smithfield Foods' notorious anti-union efforts over the last decade

Unfortunately, those facts didn't remain in the light of day: the curtains were closed when the court granted a request to place all those filings "under seal." Before they were hidden to halt further scrutiny, several documents described Berman's role in the company's anti-union efforts over the last decade.

This discovery publicly confirmed the true intent of Berman's latest operation: two anti-union front groups that attack candidates who want to make it easier for people to join unions. Under Berman's direction - and with a $30 million budget - the Center for Union Facts and the Employee Freedom Action Committee aggressively attack pro-worker Senate and House candidates for their support of the Employee Free Choice Act.

Core to the message of Berman's front groups is his assertion that the groups he fosters are either "pro-worker" or "not anti-union." But Berman has repeatedly shown his true colors.  At every turn, he adds to his reputation as a for-profit unionbuster.  Every public pronouncement by one of his many "nonprofit" front groups raises the question:  Which industry client is benefiting from this media assault?  Who is paying Berman to stifle their workers' organizing efforts?

Complaints are pending with the IRS against Berman's possible misuse of tax exemptions, charging the lobbyist with privately benefiting from nonprofit entities he created which serve no charitable purpose.

While Berman may appear as a ringleader in the public attacks of those who support unions and defend workers' rights, the corporations he represents are ultimately responsible. As momentum for the Employee Free Choice Act increases, Berman will likely continue shilling his anti-union services to those employers who don't want to pay their workers a livable wage, provide health care, or help them pursue the American Dream.

Responsible corporations will not want to get muddied by connecting themselves to Berman's operations.

 
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