Coalition for a Democratic Workplace

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This article is part of the Center for Media & Democracy's spotlight on front groups and corporate spin.

The Coalition for a Democratic Workplace (CDW) is "an ad-hoc alliance of industry groups opposed to federal legislation that would make it easier for workers to unionize," the Employee Free Choice Act. "The coalition's political strategy and communications efforts are run by DC Navigators, a consulting firm that also does work for Republican politicians. Navigators explained the strategy on the firm's Web site: 'Unions lost control of the message fight; they wanted [the] fight to be a debate about [the] merits of joining a union and Navigators made it a fight about secret ballots.'" [1]

Money and advertising

"The business umbrella group Coalition for a Democratic Workplace has committed $200 million overall to defeat" EFCA, reported the National Journal in February 2009. [2]

"Rhonda Bentz of the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace, consisting of more than 500 groups opposing the bill, said they bought several million dollars in ads during the last session of Congress, and plan to spend a similar amount this year," the Associated Press reported in January 2009. [3]

The National Journal reported that CDW "expect to spend close to $20 million, mostly on issue ads in Senate races" in 2008. CDW's goal was to maintain enough Republican seats in the Senate that Republicans could filibuster EFCA in the 111th Congress, which began in January 2009. CDW "debuted in April [2008] with a national cable-TV ad campaign," added the Journal. "The spots are the handiwork of Mike Murphy, a GOP ad maven and longtime outside adviser to John McCain. ... For other communications needs, the coalition has tapped DC Navigators, the Washington lobbying and public-affairs shop that Murphy helped to found. Navigators Vice President Rhonda Bentz, a coalition spokeswoman, says that the business effort has pulled in some contributions 'from seven-figure donors, but most are well under a million.'" [4]


National member groups include: [5]

Local and state member groups, which are listed on CDW's website, include local chapters of the Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC) and Associated Builders & Contractors (ABC); groups representing owners of restaurants, hotels and other local businesses; and local chambers of commerce and industry lobby groups like Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce.

Contact information

Coalition for a Democratic Workplace
901 7th Street NW, 2nd Floor
Washington, DC 20001

Phone: 202-580-7289

Articles and resources

Related SourceWatch articles


  1. Will Evans, "Profile: Coalition for a Democratic Workplace,", September 8, 2008.
  2. Alyssa Rosenberg, "Business: It's Not Just 'Card Check'," The National Journal, February 14, 2009.
  3. Jim Abrams, "Tougher battles ahead for labor after early win," Associated Press, January 30, 2009.
  4. Peter H. Stone, "Business Nervously Eyes the Senate: Corporate interests fervently want a cloture-blocking 41 Republican senators," The National Journal, July 26, 2008.
  5. "About us," Coalition for a Democratic Workplace website, accessed February 2009.

External resources

External articles