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Cynical Attack on America's Teachers from Corporate Hack

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 11, 2008

CONTACT:
Josh Goldstein
202-822-2127 x118
954-254-4900 (Cell)
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Washington, DC—Today the notorious corporate hack Richard Berman launched a cynical campaign attacking America's teachers and their unions.

The PR flak’s “shoot the messenger” strategy has been well-documented by the media, American Rights at Work, and other public interest groups.  Through various front groups, Berman has mounted campaigns for his corporate backers to relax drunken driving laws, discount public health concerns about obesity and mercury, and prevent increases in the minimum wage.

In response to these baseless attacks, American Rights at Work Executive Director Mary Beth Maxwell issued the following statement:

"What do Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and teachers unions have in common?  They are all public interest groups who have found themselves in Richard Berman’s crosshairs.

Richard Berman and his countless front groups are simply hired guns pushing the cynical campaigns of major corporations driven by greed over moral responsibilities.  These new attacks on America's teachers are the result of yet another paycheck being cashed in by Berman.  Richard Berman doesn't care about your kids, your health, your workplace, or your schools.  He cares about money, period.  And the major corporations and right-wing ideologues, whose identities are protected by his veil, are happy to pay handsomely for his services.

An already contemptuous resume of attacking on behalf of the alcohol, tobacco, and fast food industries now has a new low.  Berman has clearly found his latest money-making enterprise: attacking teachers’ unions.  Berman should be put in the dunce’s corner for trying to fool teachers and the American public.”

American Rights at Work is committed to exposing underhanded attacks on workers and their unions.  The labor policy and advocacy group created a portal to shed light on the various individuals, policymakers, and lobbyists who undermine workers’ rights at www.AntiUnionNetwork.org.

Don't fall victim to the corporate propaganda. Here are the real facts on Berman:

Lifting the Veil on Rick Berman
Five Fast Facts on Berman & the Center for Union Facts

Richard Berman doesn’t care about your kids, your health, your workplace, or your schools.  He cares about money. Period.

1.  He’s the hired gun for the alcohol, tobacco, and fast food industries. Notorious D.C. lobbyist, veteran spin doctor, and founder of Berman and Company, Richard Berman has made a name for himself working on behalf of unpopular clients like the tobacco, alcohol, and fast food industries. Through various front groups he’s created, Berman has mounted campaigns for his corporate backers to relax drunk driving laws, discount public health concerns about obesity and tanning, and prevent increases in the minimum wage.

2. Berman’s issue-focused front groups pay “huge fees” to his lobbying firm. Richard Berman runs five campaigns out of his offices in Washington, DC, most of which were revealed to pay “huge fees” to his lobbying firm.  According to a July 2006 profile of Berman in USA Today, his company has 28 employees and earns $10 million dollars a year, but "only Berman and his bookkeeper wife" know how much of the $10 million ends up in their own pockets.

3.  Berman’s backers stay far in the background. Berman is the face of attacks on public interest groups to absolve corporations, conservative business associations, industry lobbying groups, and right-wing policy centers and policymakers from responsibility and accountability.  “[Berman] never discloses his financial backers, allowing large, mainstream companies to fund him without having to associate their brand names with his sharp-elbowed approach.” Las Vegas Sun, 11/3/07

4.  Playing loose and dirty with the facts is Berman’s favorite tactic. 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.

5.  Attacking unions is one of his latest money-making enterprises. In 2006, Berman launched the Center for Union Facts front group to damage the public image of unions and further an anti-union business climate.  Berman’s plans to fundraise among conservative activists for his attack on teachers’ unions were revealed in an expose in The Las Vegas Sun in Nov. 2007.  In 2008 Berman will wage “an aggressive media campaign” on behalf of the Indoor Tanning Association, which has raised $400k+ to hire Berman to play down the well-documented health concerns over tanning.  

Learn more about Rick Berman and the attack on unions and workers’ rights, visit www.AntiUnionNetwork.org.