Another year, another meeting of corporate-cozy lawmakers hosted by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).
Right now in Indianapolis, conservative lawmakers from all across the U.S. have gathered in secretive meetings to discuss how they can push forward with a platform in state capitals that would limit worker rights, continue big businesses’ tax break gravy train and continue the private prison industrial complex in this country.
The Teamsters have repeatedly directed their ire at ALEC, most recently calling on union employer UPS to leave the organization because it pushes a platform that is detrimental to everyday Americans. Delegates at the Teamsters’ 29th International Convention echoed that action in late June by approving a resolution demanding the package giant end its membership in the group.
For those who don’t know, ALEC promotes an extreme agenda that includes denying the science of climate change, defunding public services and supporting worker misclassification. It also provides model legislation on such issues as so-called right to work that further its anti-union, anti-worker corporate agenda. Among those funding the group are billionaire industrialists the Koch brothers.
The Teamsters joined a coalition of 84 groups last year who signed a letter calling on UPS to leave ALEC. Over 100 corporations and hundreds of state legislators have dropped their memberships to ALEC in just the past few years, including Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Yelp, Yahoo, eBay, AOL, SAP, International Paper, Occidental Petroleum, Northrop Grumman, BP, T-Mobile, Shell Oil, and Canadian National Railway. Many of these companies left over concerns that ALEC’s harmful views conflicted with their corporate social responsibility policies.
Hundreds of union members and other allies have turned up in Indianapolis this week to protest ALEC and its anti-worker policies. They have also drawn attention to lawmakers who are using taxpayer funds to covers costs at this partisan event.
America is stronger when its elected officials represent the will of their constituents, not big business interests look for more handouts. UPS needs to leave ALEC. But so do lawmakers who are letting the group cloud their better judgment.