Wall of Films
Log In With Email
Log In With Facebook
Add Local News
Add Local Event
Wall of Films
Sign Up / Log In
Bailout Recipients Hosted Call To Defeat Key Labor Bill
By Sam Stein. From
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."
"If a retailer has not gotten involved in this, if he has not spent money on this election, if he has not sent money to [former Sen.] Norm Coleman and all these other guys, they should be shot. They should be thrown out their goddamn jobs," Marcus declared.
Earlier he argued: "As a shareholder, if I knew the CEO of the company wasn't doing anything on [EFCA]... I would sue the son of a bitch... I'm so angry at some of these CEOs, I can't even believe the stupidity that is involved here."
Audio of the conference call, which was obtained by the Huffington Post, is excerpted throughout this piece to provide a clearer insight into the pitched battle surrounding the Employee Free Choice legislation. At one point, relatively early in the call, Marcus joked that he "took a tranquilizer this morning to calm myself down."
"This bill may be one of the worst things I have ever seen in my life," he said, explaining that he could have been on "a 350-foot boat out in the Mediterranean," but felt it was more important to engage on this fight. "It is incredible to me that anybody could have the chutzpah to try and pass this bill in this election year, especially when we have an economy that is a disaster, a total absolute disaster."
The legislation -- which would allow workers to form a union either by holding a traditional election or having a majority of employees sign written forms -- is virtually certain to face a Republican filibuster. Obama and Senate Democrats have stated their commitment to the bill, though the timing of the vote remains a topic of heated debate.
Weeks before the November election, Marcus, Berman, and others saw this ominous political landscape taking shape. Hoping to aid opponents of EFCA in the Senate, they pleaded with participants on the call, mostly stock analysts or individuals with investment portfolios, to urge clients to prop up the campaigns of endangered Republican candidates, including Norm Coleman of Minnesota, Gordon Smith of Oregon, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Elizabeth Dole of North Carolina, and Roger Wicker of Mississippi.
"If there are not enough Republicans operating as a firewall, after this election it is going to be very difficult to hold the line," predicted Berman. "The only way after these elections if we don't have a filibuster proof Senate... is to make this issue so hot in some states so that even a Democrat who is up for election in 2010 has to think twice about whether or not they are going to let this thing go by."
At one point, another individual on the call suggested that participants send major contributions to Berman's organization as a way of affecting the election without violating the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law. "Some organizations have written checks for $250,000, $500,000, some $2 million for this," said the man, likely Steven Hantler, the director of free enterprise and entrepreneurship at Bernie Marcus' Marcus Foundation.
Citing the massive war chests that unions have brought to the EFCA fight, Marcus asked participants to make campaign donations rather than lobbying payments. "Fire all these guys in Washington," he said of the K-Street operators, "they are worthless anyway."
In an interview with the Huffington Post, Berman said that there "was nothing on that call that spoke to funneling money to anybody." Indeed, at a separate point, Marcus discussed the need to contribute to issue advocacy and education activities. The call, Berman continued, was designed to explain some of the economic implications of passing EFCA and was "one of a series with people around the country who are connected to businesses."
"There has been, though it has changed in the last few months, a fairly significant deficit in terms of understanding what this law is about," Berman said. "I know a number of business groups have held calls with people about the impact of this legislation... The unions who are a proponent of this have not made it a high profile issue. I think they have learned from their polling that it doesn't poll well, which is why they don't' want to make it a public issue."
As for the business community, Berman added, "I do think that most businesspeople fully appreciate the damage that out-of-control labor leaders have caused for other businesses. There is no appetite for finding out if you are going to have to be the next business to deal with other labor issues."
A Bank of America spokesman declined a request for public comment, and the bank's representative on the call played a minor role. The conference call was referenced in a November 5 Bank of America research document, in which the company noted that EFCA "increases the likelihood that retailers would be unionized, which could drive higher labor cost at retail." On "the flip side," however, the document said the bill would increase the "spending power of lower income consumers as this would be a de facto wage and benefit increase."
As evidenced by its dual interpretation of the legislation, Bank of America's role in the EFCA fight is a bit murky. The company, as stated by an official there, hosted the call for the purposes of equity research, meaning that their goal was to represent the opinions of clients and not the bank itself. But their involvement in an effort to drum up support for defeating the labor-backed legislation, so soon after getting bail out funds from the federal government, left a bad taste in the mouth of some union officials.
"Bank of America is now not only getting bailout money. They are lending their name to participate in a campaign to stop workers from having a majority sign up [provision]," said Stephen Lerner, Director of the Private Equity Project at SEIU. "The biggest corporations who have created the problem are, at the very time, asking us to bail them out and then using that money to stop workers from improving their lives."
To see the original post with sound clips go to:
This work is licensed under an
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
Added Jan 29th, 2009 by
Apartheid Did Not Die (1998)
How Corporations Exploit the System to Pay Less in Taxes, Explained in 1 Minute
Wall Street's War for Drug Money: A Basic Lesson in Real Economics
This Text Message Exchange Between a Mother and Daughter is Pure Gold
Belinda Hankins · 8,404 views today · When Belinda Hankins got a text message from her 13-year-old daughter, who was shopping for period products, it started an exchange that will resonate with women everywhere. Enjoy.
10 Provocative Quotes from Ivan Illich's "Deschooling Society"
Daniel Lattier · 7,918 views today · Ivan Illich’s groundbreaking book Deschooling Society (1971) offers a radical critique of the institutionalization of education within modern societies. Illich believed that we...
What Makes Call-Out Culture So Toxic
Asam Ahmad · 4,867 views today · Call-out culture refers to the tendency among progressives, radicals, activists, and community organizers to publicly name instances or patterns of oppressive behaviour and...
Welcome to Marinaleda: The Spanish Anti-Capitalist Town With Equal Wage Full Employment and $19 Housing
Jade Small · 3,247 views today · With virtually no police, crime or unemployment, meet the Spanish town described as a democratic, socialist utopia. Unemployment is non-existent in Marinaleda, an Andalusian...
When You Kill Ten Million Africans You Aren't Called 'Hitler'
Liam O'Ceallaigh · 2,670 views today · Take a look at this picture. Do you know who it is? Most people haven’t heard of him. But you should have. When you see his face or hear his name you should get as sick in...
What You Might Notice If You Forgot Your Phone For a Day
2 min · 2,379 views today · There is a moment happening right in front of you, right this second, and you just might be missing it
Ikigai - Finding Your Reason for Being
Chip Richards · 1,896 views today · What Gets You Out of Bed in the Morning? When asked what is the single most powerful contributing factor to one’s health and vitality, integrative medical...
Superblocks: How Barcelona Is Taking City Streets Back From Cars
5 min · 1,691 views today · Modern cities are designed for cars. But the city of Barcelona is testing out an urban design trick that can give cities back to pedestrians.
93 Documentaries to Expand Your Consciousness
Films For Action
· 1,655 views today · There are over 800 documentaries now cataloged in our library of social change films. That's probably way too many for any mortal to ever watch in a lifetime, let alone a few...
Who Are You? Watching This Breathtaking Video Could Be the Moment You Change Your Life
2 min · 1,441 views today · "Normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work, driving through traffic in a car that you are still paying for, in order to get to a job that you need so you can...
Today I Rise: This Beautiful Short Film Is Like a Love Poem For Your Heart and Soul
4 min · 1,181 views today · "The world is missing what I am ready to give: My Wisdom, My Sweetness, My Love and My hunger for Peace." "Where are you? Where are you, little girl with broken wings but full...
11 Traits of People With High Emotional Intelligence
Raven Fon · 1,042 views today · Lately, new ways to describe human interactions, social behaviours, and many facets of psychology have emerged on the social network scene. One of those descriptions is “high...
10 min · 1,039 views today · The first installment of Invisible Thread, an ongoing ELM passion project series, Throw tells the story of an outsider from East Baltimore, an area challenged by gang violence...
Schooling the World (2010)
66 min · 1,008 views today · If you wanted to change an ancient culture in a generation, how would you do it? You would change the way it educates its children. The U.S. Government knew this in the 19th...
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into a Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley · 646 views today · This is easily the best comic strip ever made. Pabl
The White Man in That Photo
Riccardo Gazzaniga · 617 views today · Sometimes photographs deceive. Take this one, for example. It represents John Carlos and Tommie Smith’s rebellious gesture the day they won medals for the 200 meters at the...
16 min · 590 views today · Since the 1970's Majuli islander Jadav Payeng has been planting trees in order to save his island. To date he has single handedly planted a forest larger than Central Park NYC...
Touch Isolation: How Homophobia Has Robbed All Men Of Touch
Mark Greene · 516 views today · Homophobic prohibitions against male touch are hurting straight men as well.
How to Criticize with Kindness: Philosopher Daniel Dennett on the Four Steps to Arguing Intelligently
Maria Popova · 500 views today · “Just how charitable are you supposed to be when criticizing the views of an opponent?”
The Top 100 Documentaries We Can Use to Change the World
Films For Action
· 458 views today · A more beautiful, just and sustainable world is possible. Take this library and use it to inspire global change!
Doctors Response to Daily Mail Bigotry is Beautiful
Tomorrow's Food: Cultured Meat
Native Liberation: the Way Forward
Abolish ALL Prisons, Private and Public
Real Change in Democracy Comes Not in the Voting Booth but Activism at the Grass-Roots
How a Trump Presidency Would Unleash a Torrent of Racist Violence-And Devastate the Left
Here's How They Try to Suppress Your Vote
The Journey From Syria (2016)
The Left Deserves Better Than Jill Stein
Rap News Special Edition: Hillary Clinton Vs Donald Trump
Explore by Subject
Money & Economics
Like us on Facebook?
I already like Films For Action
Bailout Recipients Hosted Call To Defeat Key Labor Bill
Share on Facebook
Share on Facebook
Repost on Films For Action
We recommend using Facebook so we can connect you with your existing friends on Films For Action.
We will never post anything without your permission.
Log in with Facebook
Log in with Email
Add Local News
Add Local Event