Wikileaks publishes conference call against Employee Free Choice Act

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akai
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Jan 29 2009 10:17
Wikileaks publishes conference call against Employee Free Choice Act

The Employee Free Choice Act would help ensure the rights of unions to organize in the US. It was introduced ages ago and in 2007 was approve by Congress but voted down by the Senate. Some businesses are afraid that it may pass this time and are organizing their lobby. Here is the news:

Secret call reveals heads of industry strategising to keep unions down under Obama

WIKILEAKS NOTABLE AUDIO RELEASE
Thu Jan 28 22:31:05 GMT 2009

"US heads of industry strategise to keep unions down under Obama"

Wikileaks has released a secret hour long telephone recording between US heads of industry discussing efforts to prevent the emancipation of unions under an Obama administration. Yesterday the Huffington Post ran a story by Sam Stein titled "Bailout Recipients Hosted Call To Defeat Key Labor Bill". The story inclded around five minutes of an hour long recording between federal bailout funds recipiets. Wikileaks has released the full hour long recording. The call shows the firms to be involved in lobbying, effectively with public money.

The summary below is excerpted from Mr. Stein's story:

Three days after receiving $25 billion in federal bailout funds, Bank of America Corp. hosted a conference call with conservative activists and business officials to organize opposition to the U.S. labor community's top legislative priority.

Participants on the October 17 call -- including at least one representative from another bailout recipient, AIG -- were urged to persuade their clients to send "large contributions" to groups working against the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), as well as to vulnerable Senate Republicans, who could help block passage of the bill.

Bernie Marcus, the charismatic co-founder of Home Depot, led the call along with Rick Berman, an aggressive EFCA opponent and founder of the Center for Union Facts. Over the course of an hour, the two framed the legislation as an existential threat to American capitalism, or worse.

"This is the demise of a civilization," said Marcus. "This is how a civilization disappears. I am sitting here as an elder statesman and I'm watching this happen and I don't believe it."

Donations of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars were needed, it was argued, to prevent America from turning "into France."

For more information, see:

http://wikileaks.org/wiki/Anti-union_call_between_Bank_of_America%2C_Bernie_Marcus%2C_et_al._and_Rick_Berman%2C_17_Oct_2008

David in Atlanta
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Joined: 21-04-06
Jan 29 2009 17:20

Ah, Bernie, we know him well down here. He extorted a nasty bit of local legislation from the Atlanta City Council against homeless folks and the unemployed. He reminded them he was donating a major fortune to a project they wanted and he "wouldn't allow his wife to go downtown alone" because of beggars. A group got tossed out of Council Chambers by riot cops when they announced that the ordinance had passed. We were pretty loud and showed no intention of leaving on our own. The Firefighters union was there on a separate issue of their own: pay parity with the cops, a major raise for the firefighters and a long running local labor dispute, but spoke out in our defense from the floor and left.

petey
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Jan 29 2009 18:17

thanks laure, hadn't heard about the leak. the "center for union facts" are total scumbags, enough money there to take out full-page ads in NYT etc.

akai
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Jan 29 2009 19:58

Well, this call was extremely scummy. If I were there in the states, I'd be picketing Home Depots. Listen, this kind of bullshit they're spreading should be countered. You can just see the types of lies they are telling workers and consumers. Things like "they'll lose their jobs" and "prices will go up"... People need a simple comic book like "Buster Bernie" starring Bernie telling shit with some nice workers telling him off.

If you have info on the creep, update his Wikipedia page.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernard_Marcus

BTW, I was impressed that they are so afraid of the "Starbucks scenario".

I think you can use this scandal wisely against the bastards.

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Schwarz
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Jan 29 2009 20:16

It's fascinating to actually hear the ruling class planning action against workers and discussing the "culture" and "environment" of false consciousness they attempt to foster in the workplace. Undeniable proof (as though there was any doubt!) that capitalists are fully conscious of their class interests and act concertedly.

Thanks for the post.

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jesuithitsquad
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Jan 30 2009 00:05

I've read several news reports now that Obama is not willing to push the legislation any time soon.

petey
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Jan 30 2009 14:32
laureakai wrote:
I think you can use this scandal wisely against the bastards.

you would think so, but it mightn't get too far. LOTS of w/c would defend the bosses, who will be echoed by the rightwing media cadre (limbaugh, o'reilly), "the unions are socialist enemies of the united states, it's in workers' best interest to defend the corporations", and though obama is no friend of workers, they'd tie him into it, because he's a secret communist muslim america hater who was born in kenya and shouldn't even be president. it's hard to describe how virulent u.s. rightwing rhetoric is, and how many have bought into it.

akai
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Jan 30 2009 16:42

I know it's hard to deal with rightwing rhetoric, but that's our challenge.

I think of lot of people can understand that what is going on is a race to the bottom and what they are basically saying is that you have to act like a more obedient dog nowadays to get fed. It's not in their best interests to give up more and more to the bosses because they don't give a damn about you.

It's always worth trying: at least some people will hear you.

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jesuithitsquad
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Jan 30 2009 16:50
petey wrote:
laureakai wrote:
I think you can use this scandal wisely against the bastards.

you would think so, but it mightn't get too far. LOTS of w/c would defend the bosses, who will be echoed by the rightwing media cadre (limbaugh, o'reilly), "the unions are socialist enemies of the united states, it's in workers' best interest to defend the corporations", and though obama is no friend of workers, they'd tie him into it, because he's a secret communist muslim america hater who was born in kenya and shouldn't even be president. it's hard to describe how virulent u.s. rightwing rhetoric is, and how many have bought into it.

that is exactly right on petey. exactly how they frame the debate.

petey
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Jan 30 2009 18:47
laureakai wrote:
I know it's hard to deal with rightwing rhetoric, but that's our challenge.

I think of lot of people can understand that what is going on is a race to the bottom and what they are basically saying is that you have to act like a more obedient dog nowadays to get fed. It's not in their best interests to give up more and more to the bosses because they don't give a damn about you.

It's always worth trying: at least some people will hear you.

oh i agree with all of this. i'm more amazed at the situation than anything else, yet i do have the impression that it's worse here than elsewhere. in europe and some other countries there's some kind of left wing tradition which gives you a hook (if not always a libertarian one) but here there's almost nothing. in fact i think i hear more class-conscious rumbling in the states these days, but the wall of rightwing spume is just so thick.

akai
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Jan 31 2009 00:00

Well, sometimes the grass looks greener somewhere else, but it's not always the correct impression. Yes, some countries have a left tradition but it's not everywhere. It's not true there's "almost nothing" in the states - there is in fact many, many people who are disappointed and upset. The anarchist movement has not always really been out there as much as it should and there are many lost opportunities. It's really a lost one if people don't debunk the bullshit in this call in a very public way.