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Exposing the Opposition: The Facts on the Critics of the Employee Free Choice Act

While pretending to protect the well-being of U.S. workers, anti-union corporate special interests are tripping over each other and sparing no expense to bully lawmakers, misinform the public, and oppose free choice for workers. Here are a few facts on who's behind the attack on the Employee Free Choice Act.

Opponents of the Employee Free Choice Act

Coalition for a Democratic Workplace (CDW)
The deceptively-titled astroturf group claims a workers' rights agenda and a grassroots base representing "rank-and-file workers from across the country" who are opposed to the Employee Free Choice Act.

  • MEMBERSHIP: Grassroots claim conceals corporate agenda.   CDW masquerades as a workers' rights group, mimicking the rhetoric and even logo of legitimate organizations.  Not surprisingly, no workers are named as members on CDW's website, but hundreds of national, deep-pocketed groups and their affiliates are—including the National Association of Manufacturers, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the National Retail Federation.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce 
The nation's most powerful business lobbying organization co-chairs the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace.

  • RESOURCES: The Chamber's war chest.    In 2006, the Chamber spent a record $72 million on lobbying.  VP for labor policy Randel Johnson told The New York Times, "We've targeted [The Employee Free Choice Act] as our No. 1 or No. 2 priority to defeat."
  • TACTIC: CDW and Chamber join forces to make "people feel pain."   Operating from the same playbook and talking points, both CDW and the Chamber have launched extensive media campaigns in target states to shame and reprimand House Representatives who voted to pass the Employee Free Choice Act, and intimidate Senators out of following suit.  In a Congress Daily article about the expensive ad buy, a Chamber spokesperson said, "We're making people feel pain."

> Click here for a full profile of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Center for Union Facts 
This PR-focused front group creates lavish ads and relentless spin to try to damage the public image of unions and further an anti-union business climate.

  • LEADERSHIP: Alcohol, tobacco, and fast food industry hired gun Rick Berman.   The group is a creation of notorious industry lobbyist and PR flak Richard Berman, who has mounted campaigns for his corporate backers to relax drunken driving laws, discount public health concerns about obesity, and prevent increases in the minimum wage.
  • TACTIC: Over-the-top radio, TV, and print ads.  In August 2006, Montana's Attorney General Mike McGrath called the Center's $1 million ad campaign attacking public employees "inaccurate" and "demeaning."  Similarly, a number of television stations refused to air commercials produced by the Center in 2006.
  • TACTIC: Playing loose and dirty with the facts.   Berman routinely misinterprets data, grossly exaggerates, and offers dubious statistics to further the agenda of his corporate clients.  For example, as the Senate launched hearings and introduced the Employee Free Choice Act in March 2007, the Center released misleading figures based on National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) data that minimized the number of illegal firings during union election campaigns.  Both Republican and Democratic Senate staff requested clarification on the group's claims from the NLRB.  Staff at the NLRB swiftly responded to report Berman's data cannot be substantiated.

> Click here for a full profile of the Center for Union Facts