Secretive strategy session scheduled for 8pm Tuesday in Capitol Basement
Documents obtained by Progress Missouri indicate that the Republican leaders in Jefferson City are working directly with national, extreme front groups to silence Missouri workers and increase corporate power. Leaders from the the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, Western Michigan Policy Forum and National Tax Limitation Committee are scheduled to speak at tonight’s strategy session at 8pm in Hearing Room 3, per House leadership communications.
Further demonstrating the involvement of extreme corporate front groups, the so-called “right to work” legislation introduced by Rep. Eric Burlison and co-sponsored by Speaker Tim Jones comes directly from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a Progress Missouri analysis has shown.
“Our legislators need to be listening to Missourians and solving Missouri problems, not following the orders of extreme billionaires and their secretive front groups,” said Sean Soendker Nicholson, Executive Director of Progress Missouri. “These bills are all about limiting the political voices of workers and the middle class on behalf of CEOs and corporations.”
“As Martin Luther King said in 1961: ‘In our glorious fight for civil rights, we must guard against being fooled by false slogans, such as ‘right to work.’ It is a law to rob us of our civil rights and job rights.’”
Corporate supporters of RTW laws claim that they ensure a more business-friendly climate and lead to economic growth, but recent studies show that these laws actually suppress wages and reduce the standard of living. In fact, a state’s RTW law has no impact on economic growth, has no influence on employment, has no influence on business capital formation, and is actually correlated with a decrease in wages. [Source: “New Research Counters Arguments for ‘Right-to-Work’ Laws,” American Rights at Work, 03/11]
On the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation:
National Right to Work Legal Defense Fund and National Right to Work Committee Have Goal of Weakening Unions, Not Protecting Workers
According to the Chicago Tribune, the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is "associated" with the National Right to Work Committee, which is an "organization that lobbies for so-called right-to-work laws that let workers refrain from paying union dues, thus weakening unions' power." [Chicago Tribune, 2/1/2013]
The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation has direct ties to the Koch Brothers’ network of extreme organizations. Mark Mix, President of the National Right To Work Committee and President of the National Right To Work Legal Defense Fun, is directly connected to the Koch network.
National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation Backed by "Reactionary" Coors Foundation
According to The Center for Media and Democracy publication Sourcewatch.com, the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is backed by the Castle Rock Foundation. According to Salon.com, the Castle Rock Foundation is an "obscure but reactionary" foundation started by the Coors family. [The Center for Media and Democracy, Link; Salon.com, 10/22/2004]
On the National Tax Limitation Committee:
NTLC Behind Secretly Funded Effort To Restrict Union Political Activity
Lew Uhler is the activist behind a California measure to force the unions to get written employee consent before they can spend dues money for political purposes. “While Uhler is the author of the measure, it is a Laguna Niguel- based campaign committee called the Coalition for Employee Rights that is paying for the effort. Identities of the committee's financial backers, however, remain a mystery. Committee treasurer James V. Lacy said he'll disclose his donors when it's required.” [Sacramento Bee, 3/20/05]
On the West Michigan Policy Forum:
West Michigan Policy Forum is Run By GOP Super Donor Devos Family
According to Salon.com, the West Michigan Policy Forum is headed by former Amway CEO and one time Michigan gubernatorial candidate Dick Devos. They wrote, "Dick Devos, a former Amway CEO, was the GOP’s self-funded (failed) gubernatorial nominee in 2006. During that campaign, he said he had no interest in right-to-work. But like Snyder, he’s had an apparent change of heart. The business group West Michigan Policy Forum, which Devos chairs, recently announced that it was prepared to get a right-to-work law on the ballot if legislators didn’t send one to the governor’s desk." [Salon.com, 12/11/2012]
Jared Rodriguez of the Western Michigan Policy Forum has a long history of working with extreme anti-worker organizations. Rodriguez is a former senior vice president of the west-Michigan Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce, and was the treasurer for a campaign funded by right-wing ideologues, including Missouri’s Ethelmae Humphreys, to stop a pro-worker a ballot initative in Michigan in 2012. [Source: Public Integrity, September 24, 2012; FactCheck.org, 10/26/12]