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Employee Freedom Action Committee

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

The Employee Freedom Action Committee (EFAC) states on its website that it "is a non-partisan, non-profit organization fighting for fair elections in the workplace. The committee is composed of thousands of American workers, employers and others that believe that everyone deserves a right to a private, fair election when it comes to joining a labor union." It opposes the Employee Free Choice Act.[1]

EFAC was established and is run by Rick Berman, a Washington DC lobbyist with a history of creating industry-funded front groups. As of September 2008, EFAC had "raised more than $25 million, according to a spokesperson. One of its board members is Allison Shay, who until recently lobbied for the National Restaurant Association. The group's original name was the Center for Union Facts Action Committee and it is affiliated with the Berman-run Center for Union Facts," which in 2007 received $150,000 from the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation "to support a public-education project about unions' 'card-check' organizing." [2] The Communication Director for EFAC is Tim Miller, who is the Communications Director for Berman's Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF). Miller's name and contact information is listed on each of the press releases put out by CCF.[3]

Court action stopping TV and Internet ads

The American College of Surgeons filed a legal complaint in Illinois' Northern District alleging that the Employee Freedom Action Committee violated trademark law and defamed the group when it included the College of Surgeons on a scrolling list headed "Doctors Against the Plan" in an anti-health care reform television advertisement. The court granted a temporary restraining order to the surgeons, finding they would likely prevail on the merits in a trial. The order enjoined Berman's group from placing ads citing the American College of Surgeons on television or the Internet. The ad was run by the "Committee to Rethink Reform," a 501(c)4 not required to disclose its donors -- one of the hallmarks of a Berman-operated group. The ad has been removed from the Internet. [4]


State-level ads and other campaigns

In May 2008, EFAC ran ads in Oregon, opposing Democratic Senate candidate Jeff Merkley (who went on to win in November). An Oregon newspaper reported, "Although Employee Freedom's ad lists a 503 phone number [the area code for Oregon], Tim Miller, a spokesman for Employee Freedom, answered the phone in D.C. when the Rogue Desk called that number. He says his group will continue to fight what he calls 'coercion' by unions trying to expand." [5]

In 2008, EFAC ran ads and sent mailers in North Carolina, opposing Democratic Senate candidate Kay Hagan (who went on to win in November). The group's Tim Miller said it was "spending $1 million on online ads and mailings that criticize Hagan. ... It's also spending $2 million for a TV ad featuring former Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern criticizing the legislation." [6]

EFAC also ran ads in Minnesota in 2008, "highlighting Senator Al Franken (sic) and other Democrats' support for a deceptive piece of legislation that would effectively eliminate every Minnesotan's right to a private ballot vote in union organizing elections." [7]

In Maine in 2008, EFAC released a poll claiming that "Representative Thomas Allen trailed United States Senator Susan Collins in head-to-head general election match-up," in part because of Allen's support for the Employee Free Choice Act. "Three times as many Mainers said they were more likely to oppose Rep. Allen due to his support for card-check than said they would be more likely to support him," an EFAC press release stated. The poll was conducted by NMB Research.[8]

Funding

On its website the group does not indicate what its sources of funding are.

Personnel

On its website the group lists its staff as being[1]:

Contact details

Employee Freedom Action Committee
1090 Vermont Ave NW
Suite 800
Washington, DC 20005

Phone: (202) 420-7864
Fax: (202) 463-7107
Website: http://www.employeefreedom.org/

EFAC's website address was registered on February 8, 2008, by Domains by Proxy, a business that allows the real registrants of websites to remain hidden. [9]

Articles and resources

Related SourceWatch articles

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 "About the Employee Freedom Action Committee", Employee Freedom Action Committee website, accessed March 2008.
  2. Will Evans, "Profile: Employee Freedom Action Committee," NPR.org, September 8, 2008.
  3. Center for Consumer Freedom, "Consumers Win Major Victory Over Seafood Scaremongers", Media Release, March 11, 2009.
  4. Ben Smith Court forces health care foes' ad off air Politico.com, blog. December 17, 2009
  5. "Employee Freedom Action Committee: The calculus of desperation," Williamette Week (Oregon), May 28, 2008.
  6. "Mailer links Hagan to 'big labor bosses' and Anti-union group to spend $1m in N.C.," The News & Observer (North Carolina), October 8 and 30, 2008.
  7. Press release, "Minnesotans for Employee Freedom Challenges Brian Melendez to Debate on Card-Check," Employee Freedom Action Committee, July 18, 2008.
  8. Press release, "Poll Shows Allen Trailing, Hindered by Support of Card Check," Employee Freedom Action Committee, June 4, 2008.
  9. "WHOIS search: employeefreedom.org," NetworkSolutions.com, accessed March 2009.

External links

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