Unmasking Our Foes
Maybe not all of our problems derive from a political system that is dominated by too much money and too much power concentrated in the hands of too few, but plenty do, and when you add them all up, they have a considerable impact on work opportunities for BAC members and our rights as union members.
Coordination between corporate interests and elected officials is nothing new, but the degree of interaction we’ve seen of late, especially at the state level, is not just a cause for alarm, but a call to action. A case in point is the secretive group called the American Legislative Exchange Council or ALEC. A recent study found that 2000 state legislators across the U.S. belong to ALEC. They introduce more than 1,000 “model” bills each year, written by and for ALEC's corporate members such as Koch Industries, Wal-Mart and other multinational corporations. With the goal of ramping up corporate profits and power, these measures include tax loopholes, the repeal of state prevailing wages, eliminating project labor agreements, contracts to run private prisons and schools, and voter suppression measures, to name just a few.
ALEC was behind the now infamous Stand Your Ground law in Florida. In Wisconsin, ALEC-alumnus Gov. Scott Walker's bill stripping state workers of their bargaining rights reflects ALEC's anti-union underpinnings. In Ohio, ALEC drafted much of the anti-worker bill that was the basis for SB5, which was overturned by voters in November.
Dozens of ALEC-inspired bills have been introduced in Virginia. When four ALEC-affiliated Georgia state senators co-sponsored a bill to make picketing a crime punishable by a year in prison, even tea party members sided with labor to defeat the First Amendment-busting measure.
Secrecy once aided the ALEC agenda, but that’s changing, thanks to a growing partnership among labor and progressive advocates to “call out” ALEC bills and the legislators that sponsor them. During April alone, Kraft Foods, Coca Cola and Pepsi renounced their ALEC memberships to avoid negative press. We can help do our part. Please stay informed and on the lookout for anti-democratic legislation in your state, and demand to know if the legislators responsible are ALEC members. You’ll find links to several related websites, such as www.alecexposed.org, on our website at www.bacweb.org (select “Legislative/Political”).
Between now and November 6th, the next two Journals will focus on candidates’ positions and congressional voting records on the national issues of importance you and your families.
In the meantime, I want to thank all of our members who graciously submitted their “Sporting Life” photos (p.14), which comprise one of the Journal’s most popular features – we couldn’t do it without your participation. And that goes for every facet of BAC. As always, I encourage you to let us know your thoughts and suggestions. Not a day goes by that I’m not reminded of who I report to – namely you, the members. If you have ideas for stories or issues of concern, let us know by emailing email@example.com or writing to me c/o the International Union at 620 F Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20004.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Share Your BAC Story
We encourage you to share a special story about a job you worked on or what being a BAC member means to you or to your family. Be sure to include a photograph. Please send by mail or email to:
620 F Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20004