Union Facts is headed by Richard Berman, a former lobbyist for the food, alcohol and tobacco industries who runs several other advocacy groups, including the Center for Consumer Freedom and the Employment Policies Institute. He also is general counsel of the American Beverage Institute. Through those groups, Mr. Berman has helped design several similar advocacy-ad campaigns, including efforts critical of animal-rights activists and Greenpeace.You might remember lobbyist Berman from some of his pearls of wisdom [h/t Jalopnik]:
To fund the antiunion campaign, including the newspaper ads and one radio spot, Union Facts raised $3 million from companies, foundations and individuals that Mr. Berman won't identify.
“Tuna is safe for pregnant women, claims of mercury in fish are ludicrous.”As Jalopnik points out, "With this anti-union TV-spot, the coming Labor-Management War of 2007-2011 may have just found its Archduke Ferdinand," although Berman and Union Facts claim the point of the campaign is to inform the public about abuses by some unions.
…”insuring low-wage workers against catastrophic disability will cause the loss of nine million jobs across the country.”
“Big Macs are a part of a balanced and healthy diet.”
“Congress … is seriously considering passage of a new law that would require employers to ignore AIDS infections among cooks and servers.” [Source: Sourcewatch]
At the root of the campaign is the 30-second TV ad that the group spent $150,000 to run earlier this month. The ad shows actors playing union workers and saying sarcastically what they love about being in unions. For instance, a grocery-store clerk says, "You know what I love? Paying union dues just so I can keep my job."Hmm... Berman is worried about union abuses? Talk about the pot calling the kettle black! He should focus his efforts on his friends in big business first and help them get their own house in order. Surely he hasn't forgotten some of their sins?
The campaign's print ads are less subtle. One shows a chained gate with a "Closed" sign and reads "The New Union Label. Brought to you by union 'leaders' who helped bankrupt steel, auto and airline companies."
Take Dennis Kozlowski, former CEO of Tyco... Or Andrew Fastow, former Enron CFO... Take former Global Crossing chairman Gary Winnick... Or John Rigas, founder of Adelphia Communications...Unions may not be perfect, but because of them millions of Americans have decent paying jobs with healthcare and retirement benefits. In a perfect world, corporations would do the right thing and provide adequately for their employees, but this is 21st Century America where the average CEO now takes home a paycheck 431 times that of their average worker.
Five companies — Enron, WorldCom, Tyco, Qwest and Global Crossing — ... destroyed a combined $460 billion in shareholder value while moving inexorably toward bankruptcy...