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Teamsters, Unions Take Fight for Workers to ALEC


Teamsters, other union members and activists challenged the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) to put people before the powerful today. During a march through the streets of the nation’s capital that ended up at a downtown hotel where ALEC is holding membership meetings this week, protestors unsuccessfully asked attendees to sign a pledge to stand up for their constituents over corporations.

ALEC members at the conference were presented with a “Right Priorities Pledge” that asked them to uphold the Constitution by putting the public ahead of companies. Representatives with People for the American Way (PFAW) as well as several labor groups attempted to get ALEC members to sign it. They eventually were escorted from the hotel without receiving a single signature.

“We gave them the opportunity to sign our pledge, but nobody signed it,” said Diallo Brooks, PFAW’s director of outreach and mobile development. “They are undermining our … worker rights, our democracy. It is not okay to have backroom deals with corporations. We will continue to go where they go. We will be there.”

Earlier, more than 100 demonstrators walked several blocks to the hotel holding signs saying “Stop the War on Workers,” blowing whistles, beating drums and ringing bells to alert the public to ALEC’s presence in town. They were trailed by a giant inflatable “fat cat” that welcomed conference attendees with a banner stating “ALEC … Corporations before Constituents.”

Once on site at the hotel, police watched from across the street as protestors marched up and down the block chiding the group to make its behind-the-scenes lobbying efforts between corporations and lawmakers more transparent. “ALEC, come out, we’ve got something to talk about,” they repeated.

ALEC acts as a go-between for companies and state elected officials, and for years the group has offered model legislation in an effort to curtail everything from workers’ right to organize to creating a more corporate-friendly tax code to voter suppression. When it comes to regular Americans, the group has made it clear where they stand – last. The Koch Brothers-backed group, however, has seen better days, as its latest corporate and lawmaker membership tallies show.

Teamster President James P. Hoffa will be sharing his thoughts on the shadowy organization during The Ed Show on MSNBC later today. Tune in!