August 07, 2008
PR hack. Corporate lobbyist. Shameless shill for alcohol & tobacco industries. Rick Berman is all of these and more, but now the man who calls himself "Dr. Evil" has a new moniker: professional unionbuster.
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 recently granted a request to place all those filings “under seal” – a move that’s becoming all too common these days, as employers try to maintain a veil of secrecy over their activities, even in public court proceedings.
» Read more about this discovery.
July 31, 2008
Right-wing anti-union groups are pouring tens of millions of
dollars into an effort to defeat the Employee Free Choice Act. Front
groups plan to spend upwards of $120 million on misleading advertising against pro-worker Congressional candidates in the 2008 elections.
According to reports, several anti-union front groups plan to collectively spend almost $100 million in the next year against the bill and those who support it. The breakdown is as follows (from the National Journal):
Sheldon Adelson—a major right-wing billionaire and fundraiser—recently
called the Employee Free Choice Act "one of the fundamental threats to
society"—the other being “radical Islam.” Adelson is vehemently anti-union, and put up $30 million of his own money into Freedom's Watch, a conservative advocacy group, as part of an effort take on Congressional candidates in 2008.
But the Employee Free Choice Act just isn't a cause for anti-union entities to spend money. Republican Senate leadership is trying to use the bill to drum up major contributions: "It’s our No. 1 issue to raise money on," said Senator John Ensign (R-NV), chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.
July 08, 2008
Right before the Fourth of July, American Rights at Work Executive Director Mary Beth Maxwell had a letter published in the Washington Times that debunked bogus claims from the Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber of Commerce is in the middle of a multi-million dollar anti-union ad operation against America's workers and the Employee Free Choice Act .
Here's Mary Beth's letter that sets the record straight:
One of the greatest vehicles toward change for America's
workers is the Employee Free Choice Act. Thus, this legislation has
become the prime target for anti-worker employers ("It's in the cards
for labor," Commentary, Sunday). Correcting every distortion from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce
takes away from an honest discussion on the state of America's workers.
However, your readers deserve to hear the perspective of those who
actually care about workers' rights.
While the Chamber of Commerce claims that the legislation will
eliminate the current union-election system, the bill itself clearly
states that it will not. The bill instead provides workers with an
alternative, proven system of majority sign-up, giving them the choice
in how they choose to form their union. The Chamber also claims that
this legislation will open the door to union intimidation. However,
research from Adrienne Eaton of Rutgers University reveals that fewer
than one in 20 workers report that the presence of a union organizer
made them feel pressured to sign up for a union. In fact, workers
report 50 percent less employer coercion during majority sign-up than
in the current "election" system that favors employers. As for their
fear of unions' effect on businesses, just look at successful employers
like AT&T Inc., UPS Inc. and Costco Wholesale Corp. that have
proved that businesses can thrive while respecting their workers'
So why does the Chamber of Commerce so adamantly oppose this
legislation? This big-business special-interest group speaks for the
portion of corporations that don't want to provide their workers with a
livable wage, health insurance or the opportunity for a better life.
The Employee Free Choice Act will give the 60 million workers who want
a union a meaningful chance to have one. The Chamber knows this will
mean a voice at work for these men and women to fight for their rights,
and it is willing to say and do anything to stop it.
Mary Beth Maxwell
American Rights at Work
March 11, 2008
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 the crosshairs of notorious corporate hack Richard Berman.
Today 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
In response to these baseless attacks, American Rights at Work
Executive Director Mary Beth Maxwell issued the following statement...
» Continue reading...
February 12, 2008
Have you ever wondered who Elaine Chao is? As the longest-serving member of George W. Bush’s cabinet, you’d expect a certain level of analysis of her activities as Secretary of Labor. But unlike her cohorts in the Bush administration, Elaine has escaped much-needed public scrutiny of her record.
Elaine Chao’s egregious policies include rollbacks of critical mine safety protections, hostility toward workers and their unions, and collaboration with corporate interests, most notably through her husband, Senator Mitch McConnell.
Find out more at ShameOnElaine.org.
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