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Job Creators Network

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Job Creators Network ("JCN") is association of corporate leaders best known for its E2E employee communications program, which encourages CEOs to pressure their employees to vote for and otherwise support the corporate political agenda. In 2015, it launched the web-based advocacy campaign, "Defend Main Street," which attacks the National Labor Relations Board’s decision to consider McDonald's a "joint employer" of franchise employees, possibly making the corporate giant liable for labor law violations.

JCN describes itself as a "nonpartisan organization founded by entrepreneurs like Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus who believe that government policies are breaking the backs of business owners and killing job creation."[1] Based in Texas and Georgia, JCN is comprised of two non-profit organizations: a 501(c)(3) foundation -- Job Creators Network Foundation -- and a 501(c)(4) advocacy group -- Job Creators Network Inc.[2][3]

JCN has ties to notorious PR flak Richard Berman, president of Berman & Co. Berman specializes in front groups and misleading PR campaigns.

JCN describes its own mission as "involv[ing] employees in the fight to defend free enterprise," "inform[ing] employees how government policies impact America’s jobs," and "inspir[ing] employees to become more informed citizens."[1] JCN believes that "employees, particularly non-union employees, are an untapped reservoir of support for free enterprise"[4] -- i.e. policies like increasing the definition of full-time work from 30 hours per week to 40 hours per week for healthcare coverage,[5] cutting the corporate tax rate to 25 percent,[6] making reductions in entitlement programs,[6] destroying or suppressing the minimum wage,[7] and so-called "right to work" that harms employee unions.[8]

"Employer to Employee" Program

JCN evolved out of the Job Creators Alliance created by Herman Cain and Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus[9][10][2][11][3][12] in 2011[13] that has been called a "much deeper and well-organized effort by the GOP to use what borders on workplace intimidation to influence [the] vote."[14] According to Cain, JCN was "designed to equip job creators with information they can pass on to their employees to counteract the propaganda they hear from Democrats and from the media."[15]

JCN E2E Introduction Video

JCN assists its member corporations in pressuring their employees to lobby for the corporate agenda through what it calls its "Employer to Employee Communications Program (E2E)."[16] An example of this kind of "employer to employee communications" is Westgate Resorts CEO David Siegel emailing his 7,000 employees just before the 2012 presidential election, threatening, "If any new taxes are levied on me, or my company, as our current President plans, I will have no choice but to reduce the size of this company."[17]

The E2E program seeks to give employers materials and training that they can use to "educate their employees about the impact of government policies on their jobs, pay, benefits and families."[4] Herman Cain has explained the theory behind the JCN's education programs as "educating the public about the real dangers of Obama/Democrat policies" and that "[r]esearch tells us that employees tend to trust information they receive from their employers."[15] Part of JCN's E2E programming involves maintaining its Information Station website, which attempts to re-define JCN's pro-corporate policies as friendly to employees.[18]

JCN has formed an alliance with the National Restaurant Association[19] and also cross-promotes with the Campaign to Fix the Debt.[20]

DefendMainStreet.com

Defend Main Street's NLRB Opposition

Defend Main Street is a website and project operated by JCN as part of a national print and television advertising campaign launched on January 21, 2015.[21][22] The campaign alleges that the franchise business model used by multinational corporations like McDonald's and Hampton Hotels is threatened by a National Labor Relations Board ruling holding large corporations that operate franchises jointly accountable -- along with franchise owners -- for employment conditions.[22] This advertising campaign includes television commercials running on MSNBC, CNN, Fox News, and CNBC.[23] Also included are print advertisements in both Roll Call and the Washington edition of the Wall Street Journal.[22] A six-week plan for the advertising campaign includes expansion beyond the Washington, D.C. area with regional advertisements, according to Daily Caller.[23]

The website includes the claim that "Unelected Bureaucrats Are Threatening America's Franchise System," alleging that "The General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board -- an unelected bureaucrat -- has made a recommendation that would make franchisors responsible for the employment actions of all local business owners." DefendMainStreet.com includes a petition by which interested parties can "Pledge to Defend Main Street" and "Let the NLRB Know: This is Unacceptable."[21]

Website a Project of "Notorious" Richard Berman

The domain defendmainstreet.com was registered by proxy on November 19, 2014,[24] but a report by Mother Jones in March 2015 revealed the site to be a project of the PR firm Berman & Co., operated by "notorious astroturf pioneer" Richard Berman.[25] Berman's in-house web developer had listed the site in his online portfolio, and the LinkedIn page of JCN's media contact stated that he was a digital media strategist at Berman. Some of the evidence linking Berman to the site was scrubbed from websites after Mother Jones began asking JCN staff about the connection, but an executive with JCN "confirmed Berman's longtime involvement with the group."[25]

As Mother Jones noted, the Berman connection "has led to some inconvenient optics."[25] One of the Defend Main Street ads features Heidi Ganahl, owner of a doggy day care franchise called Camp Bow Wow which has actively supported the Humane Society through charity events and at least one major donation. Berman has spent millions of dollars on a campaign attacking the Humane Society.[25]

See Media Strategy Guided by Richard Berman for more.

Background

Job Creators Network was co-founded in 2011 by former presidential candidate Herman Cain and Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus.[13] The organization was important for Herman Cain’s presidential bid, funding his "Job Creators Truth Tour" in 2012.[10] Even after Cain lost in the primary election, Job Creators Network -- then called Job Creators Solutions, but funded by the same 501(c)(4) -- remained active in the presidential election.[26] Forbes reported that this activity "raised eyebrows" due to the IRS requirements that 501(c)(4) organizations only use political activity to promote social welfare.[26] JCN claimed that its position was nonpartisan and that "[i]t [was] not intended to discuss a particular president, congress member or corporate leader."[27] Despite this, Cain publicly stated during his "Truth Tour" that his mission was "to defeat Barack Obama."[26] JCN, as Job Creators Solutions, even created a "2012 Issues Guide" pamphlet that appears to heavily favor Mitt Romney over Barack Obama.[28] After the 2012 Presidential election, Cain remained active with JCN for some time, including co-hosting a JCN-sponsored, Florida-based summit attended by business and political leaders.[29]

JCN's mission statement and E2E program are similar to Mark Block and Linda Hansen's Prosperity 101 program run by Prosperity 101 LLC. Block and Hansen were involved in Cain's presidential campaign as well as Cain's JCN-funded "Truth Tour." They were also, at one time, Chief of Staff and Deputy Chief of Staff, respectively, for JCN,[30] and Block and Hansen, along with Herman Cain, are no longer listed anywhere on JCN's website.[1]

JCN describes its own mission as "involv[ing] employees in the fight to defend free enterprise," "inform[ing] employees how government policies impact America’s jobs," and "inspir[ing] employees to become more informed citizens."[1] JCN believes that "employees, particularly non-union employees, are an untapped reservoir of support for free enterprise"[4] -- i.e. policies like increasing the definition of full-time work from 30 hours per week to 40 hours per week for healthcare coverage,[31] cutting the corporate tax rate to 25 percent,[6] making reductions in entitlement programs,[6] destroying or suppressing the minimum wage,[32] and so-called "right to work" that harms employee unions.[33]

Media Strategy Guided by Richard Berman

According to Mother Jones, JCN's media strategy has been guided by Richard Berman, the lobbyist once dubbed "Dr. Evil" by 60 Minutes for his long history of using front groups, attack dog web sites, and alleged think tanks to attack advocacy groups including the Humane Society and Mothers Against Drunk Driving.[34] Mother Jones reports that his work with JCN "represents a different way of doing business for Berman: He has guided the group's media strategy behind the scenes, while more than three dozen CEOs have publicly signed on to support the organization's mission."[25] While Berman's campaigns are typically comprised of groups operated out of the offices of his PR firm, Berman & Co., JCN was not founded by Berman, nor is it controlled by Berman.[25]

JCN's media contact, Ted Peterson, had noted on his LinkedIn page that he was employed as a digital media strategist at Berman. Berman's in-house web developer, Chris Herbert, included JCN's Defend Main Street website in his online portfolio, along with other Berman sites such as UnionFacts.com. After Mother Jones asked Peterson about the links, information about Berman and its projects were removed from Herbert and Peterson's websites and LinkedIn pages. However, Mother Jones reported that "[a]n executive associated with the Job Creators Network confirmed Berman's longtime involvement with the group."[25]

Job Creators Network CEOs

JCN maintains a page on its website displaying all of the CEOs that currently partner with the organization, as of January 2015:[35]

  • John Allison, retired CEO for BB7T Corp., current CEO of the Cato Institute
  • Maximo Alvarez, President of Sunshine Gasoline Distributors, Inc.
  • Brad Anderson, former CEO and Vice Chairman for Best Buy
  • Jim Anthony, Founder and CEO of Anthony and Company
  • Scott Barron, CEO of School Growth LLC
  • Stephen Bienko, Founder and President of 42 Holdings
  • Fred Eshelman, Founder and Executive Chairman of Pharmaceutical Product Development, Inc.
  • Blair Fensterstock, Managing Partner of Fensterstock & Partners, LLP
  • Dawn Fotopulos, Founder of BestSmallBizHelp.com
  • Heidi Ganahl, CEO of Camp Bow Wow
  • Carlos Gazitua, President of Sergio’s Family Restaurants
  • William "Lee" Hanley, Partner at Lexington Management
  • Doug Haugh, President of Mansfield Oil
  • David Hernandez, CEO of Liberty Power
  • Michael Holthouse, CEO of Prepared 4 Life
  • Christian Infante, Vice-President at SFM Services
  • Richard L. Jackson, Chairman and CEO of Jackson Healthcare
  • Leslie Kaminoff, Founder and CEO of AKAM Living Services, Inc.
  • Ralph Ketner, Chairman Emeritus and Co-Founder of Food Lion, Inc.
  • Sydney W. "Syd" Kitson, Chairman and CEO of Kitson & Partners
  • Laura Kozelouzek, CEO of Quest Workspaces
  • Ronald Lazof, former President and CEO for Behr Processing, Inc.
  • Michael A. Leven, President and COO of Las Vegas Sands, Corp.
  • Javier Loya, Chairman and CEO of OTC Global Holdings LP
  • Robert Luddy, President and Founder of CaptiveAire Systems
  • Chris MacFarland, CEO of Masergy Communications
  • Bernie Marcus, Co-Founder of The Home Depot
  • Bernie Navarro, President of Benworth Capital Partners
  • Andrew Puzder, CEO of CKE Restaurant Holdings, Inc. (Carl's Jr. and Hardee's)
  • Gary Rabine, CEO and Founder of Rabine Group
  • Adam Robinson, Co-Founder and Chief Hireologist of Hireology
  • Kathleen Shanahan, CEO and Chairman of Uretek Holdings, Inc.
  • John Slavic, President and Founder of the Slavic Group
  • Omar Soliman, CEO of College Hunks Hauling Junk
  • Tom Stemberg, Founder and former CEO of Staples
  • Warren Stephens, Chairman, President and CEO of Stephens, Inc.
  • Fran Tarkenton, Founder and CEO of OneMoreCustomer.com
  • Scott Verner, President and CEO of Nipro Diagnostics

Organizational Partners

The organizations that partner with JCN, as of January 30, 2015, are:[1]

  • American Chemistry Council
  • Americans for Prosperity
  • Asian American Chamber of Commerce
  • Asian American Home Owners Association
  • Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc-Florida, First Coast Chapter
  • Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc-Florida, Gulf Coast Chapter
  • Associated General Contractors of America
  • Assocation Services Group
  • Ayn Rand Institute
  • BIPAC
  • B&CMA
  • Cigar Association Virginia
  • COBB Chamber
  • Colorado Women’s Alliance
  • Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce Limitless
  • Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce
  • Economic Development Council-South Miami-Dade
  • Florida Chamber of Commerce
  • Florida Federation of Young Republicans
  • Florida International University
  • Florida Medical Assocation, Inc.
  • Florida Society of Association Executives, Inc.
  • Foundation for Economic Education
  • Generation Opportunity
  • Georgia Argibusiness Council
  • Georgia Chamber
  • Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
  • Georgia Motor Trucking
  • Georgia Poultry Federation
  • Georgia Restaurant Association
  • Georgia Society of Association Executives
  • Gold Star Referral Clubs
  • Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce
  • Greater North Fulton Chamber of Commerce
  • HipHop Basketball Foundation
  • Hispanic Business Initiative Fund
  • Hunter Ridge Community Association
  • International Franchise Association
  • The Jesse Helms Center Foundation
  • Latin Builders Association, Inc.
  • Latin Builders Association Academy
  • Latino-Jewish Alliance for a Secure America
  • Link Construction Group
  • Minority Business Round Table
  • National Association of Women Business Owners
  • National Federation of Independent Business
  • National Restaurant Association
  • North Carolina Chamber
  • Network for Educational Opportunity
  • New America
  • New Hampshire Center for Innovative Schools
  • NFIB Young Entrepreneur Foundation
  • North Carolina Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
  • North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association
  • Northeast Florida Builders Association
  • Northwood University
  • Patients for Fair Compensation
  • Greater Raleigh Chamber
  • Retail Merchants Association
  • Roswell Inc.
  • The Latino Coalition
  • The Libre Initiative
  • The Millennial Solution
  • Turning Point USA
  • Uretek
  • Small Business Committee
  • Virginia Manufactured and Modular Housing Association
  • Virginia Chamber
  • VetJobs
  • The Village Athletic Association
  • Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
  • Zambrano Foundation, Inc.

Personnel

As of February 2015:[36]

  • Alfredo Ortiz, President and CEO
  • Phil Willard, Chief Financial Officer
  • Elaine Lutz, Chief Marketing Officer
  • Ted Peterson, Media Associate: ted.peterson@jobcreatorsnetwork.com. According to Mother Jones, Peterson is also a digital media strategist for Berman & Co.[25]
  • Kierstin Koppel, National Coalitions Director, Director of Young Entrepreneurs
  • Sarah Lenti, National Women's Coalition Director, Colorado State Director
  • Deborah Cox-Roush, Florida State Director
  • Sylvia Franco, South Florida Director
  • David Reddick, Georgia & North Carolina Director
  • David Tille, New Hampshire Director

Funders and Finances

Funders

Funders of Job Creators Alliance have included:

2013:

  • Luddy Charitable Foundation: $23,000[37]
  • Lazof Family Foundation Inc: $5,000[38]

2012:

2011:

Finances

JCN files taxes under the name Job Creators Network Foundation for its 501(c)(3) organization[3] and as Job Creators Network Inc for its 501(c)(4) organization.[2]

Job Creators Network Foundation

2010 For the period October 1, 2010 - September 30, 2011 (filed as Job Creators Alliance):[50]

  • Total Revenue: $1,051,132
  • Total Expenses: $1,014,226
  • Net Assets: $371,713

2011 For the period October 1, 2011 - September 30, 2012 (filed as Job Creators Alliance):[11]

  • Total Revenue: $2,710,958
  • Total Expenses: $2,220,833
  • Net Assets: $861,838

2012 For the period October 1, 2012 - September 30, 2013 (filed as Job Creators Network Foundation):[3]

  • Total Revenue: $1,623,700
  • Total Expenses: $2,357,178
  • Net Assets: $128,360

Job Creators Network Inc

2012:[51]

  • Total Revenue: $2,344,375
  • Total Expenses: $2,470,467
  • Net Assets: -$126,092

2013:[2]

  • Total Revenue: $1,982,590
  • Total Expenses: $1,883,224
  • Net Assets: -$26,726

Contact Information

Job Creators Network
3290 Northside Parkway, Suite 690
Atlanta, GA 30327
Phone: 1-800-562-9718
Email: info@jobcreatorsnetwork.com[52]

Job Creators Network Foundation
15455 N. Dallas Parkway
Addison, TX 75001
Phone: 1-800-562-9718[3]

Job Creators Network Inc.
15455 N. Dallas Parkway
Addison, TX 75001
Phone: 1-800-562-9718[2]

Articles and Resources

External Articles

Related SourceWatch Resources

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Job Creators Network, "About Us," organizational website, accessed January 27, 2015.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Job Creators Network Inc, 2013 IRS form 990, organizational tax filing, August 4, 2014.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Job Creators Network Foundation, 2012 IRS form 990, organizational tax filing, August 4, 2014.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Job Creators Network, "Membership," organizational website, accessed January 27, 2015.
  5. Kathy Hoekstra, Job Creators Network, "Full-Time Push: JCN CEO Andy Puzder Testifies Before U.S. Senate Committee," organizational blog, January 22, 2015.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Job Creators Network, "Issues," organizational website, accessed February 11, 2015.
  7. Job Creators Network, "August Jobs: Bad Public Policy Threatens Progress," organizational blog, September 5, 2014.
  8. Job Creators Network, "Right to Work is Spreading," organizational blog, December 13, 2012.
  9. Job Creators Network, "About," organizational website, June 1, 2013, archived by Internet Archive Wayback Machine, accessed February 20, 2015.
  10. 10.0 10.1 George Zornick, "Herman Cain’s Nationwide Worker Intimidation Tour," The Nation, October 19, 2012.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Job Creators Alliance, 2011 IRS form 990, organizational tax filing, May 21, 2013.
  12. Dan Calabrese, "Home Depot’s Bernie Marcus: It’s the NLRB vs. job creators," CainTV.com, February 27, 2013.
  13. 13.0 13.1 Job Creators Alliance, Job Creators Alliance Formed, organizational press release, June 15, 2011.
  14. George Zornick, Herman Cain's Nationwide Worker Intimidation Tour, The Nation, October 19, 2012.
  15. 15.0 15.1 Herman Cain, "Job Creators Oppose DC Propaganda," Newsmax, April 15, 2013.
  16. Job Creators Network, "Job Creators Network," organizational website, accessed January 27, 2015.
  17. CEO emails 7,000 employees: Defeat Obama or else, CNN, October 9, 2012.
  18. Job Creators Network, "Information Station," organizational project website, accessed February 11, 2015.
  19. National Restaurant Association, National Restaurant Association Announces Employee Education Alliance, trade group press release, August 21, 2014.
  20. Job Creators Network, The Campaign to Fix the Debt: Highlights of the President’s Budget Proposal, organizational blog post, February 3, 2015.
  21. 21.0 21.1 Job Creators Network, "Defend Main Street," organizational campaign website, accessed January 27, 2015.
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 Alfredo Ortiz, Job Creators Network"Letter from Alfredo Ortiz, JCN President and CEO on Defending Main Street," organizational blog, January 21, 2015.
  23. 23.0 23.1 Connor D. Wolf, "Business Group Launches Campaign Against NLRB Franchise Ruling," Daily Caller, January 21, 2015.
  24. DefendMainStreet.com Registry Whois Whois.com, accessed January 27, 2015.
  25. 25.0 25.1 25.2 25.3 25.4 25.5 25.6 25.7 Molly Redden, "Notorious Astroturf Pioneer Rick Berman Is Behind Business Group's Anti-Labor-Board Campaign," Mother Jones, March 25, 2015.
  26. 26.0 26.1 26.2 Kelly Phillips Erb, "Cain Uses Non-Profit to Stump for Romney, Says ‘Stupid People Are Ruining America’," Forbes, October 20, 2012.
  27. "The State Theatre Presents Herman Cain," HappyValley.com, accessed February 3, 2015.
  28. Job Creators Solutions, "2012 Issues Guide for Employees," organizational pamphlet, accessed January 27, 2015.
  29. Robert Costa, "Cain to Huddle with Jeb Bush," National Review Online, March 28, 2013.
  30. Restaurant Leadership Conference, "RLC 2013 Partners: Job Creators Network," organizational website, accessed February 20, 2015.
  31. Kathy Hoekstra, Job Creators Network, "Full-Time Push: JCN CEO Andy Puzder Testifies Before U.S. Senate Committee," organizational blog, January 22, 2015.
  32. Job Creators Network, "August Jobs: Bad Public Policy Threatens Progress," organizational blog, September 5, 2014.
  33. Job Creators Network, "Right to Work is Spreading," organizational blog, December 13, 2012.
  34. 60 Minutes, Meet Dr. Evil, CBS News, September 19, 2007.
  35. Job Creators Network, "Our CEOs," organizational website, accessed January 27, 2015.
  36. Job Creators Network, Team, organizational website, accessed February 2015.
  37. Luddy Charitable Foundation, "2013 IRS form 990," organizational tax filing, April 30, 2014.
  38. Lazof Family Foundation Inc, "2013 IRS form 990," organizational tax filing, February 19, 2014.
  39. Retail Industry Leaders Association, "2012 IRS form 990," organizational tax filing, November 8, 2013.
  40. Marcus Foundation, "2012 IRS form 990," organizational tax filing, November 9, 2013.
  41. John William Pope Foundation, "2012 IRS form 990," organizational tax filing, November 22, 2013.
  42. Luddy Charitable Foundation, "2012 IRS form 990," organizational tax filing, April 29, 2013.
  43. Lazof Family Foundation Inc, "2012 IRS form 990," organizational tax filing, March 9, 2013.
  44. Anschutz Foundation, "2012 IRS form 990," organizational tax filing, August 25, 2014.
  45. William E Simon Foundation, "2012 IRS form 990," organizational tax filing, November 7, 2013.
  46. Retail Industry Leaders Association, "2011 IRS form 990," organizational tax filing, November 3, 2012.
  47. John Dawson Foundation, "2011 IRS form 990," organizational tax filing, May 9, 2012.
  48. Marcus Foundation, "2011 IRS form 990," organizational tax filing, November 15, 2012.
  49. 49.0 49.1 49.2 Conservativetransparency.org, "Job Creators Alliance Contributions," accessed February 3, 2015.
  50. Job Creators Alliance, "2010 IRS form 990," organizational tax filing, March 7, 2012.
  51. Job Creators Network, Inc,, "2012 IRS form 990," organizational tax filing, August 4, 2014.
  52. Job Creators Network, "Contact," organizational website, accessed January 27, 2015.