Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Fun with your money: Union Busting edition

Even for all the bullshit surrounding the bailout, this is pretty remarkable:
Three days after receiving $25 billion in federal bailout funds, Bank of America Corp. hosted a conference call with conservative activists and business officials to organize opposition to the U.S. labor community's top legislative priority.

Participants on the October 17 call -- including at least one representative from another bailout recipient, AIG -- were urged to persuade their clients to send "large contributions" to groups working against the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), as well as to vulnerable Senate Republicans, who could help block passage of the bill.

Bernie Marcus, the charismatic co-founder of Home Depot, led the call along with Rick Berman, an aggressive EFCA opponent and founder of the Center for Union Facts. Over the course of an hour, the two framed the legislation as an existential threat to American capitalism, or worse.
The demise of capitalism seems pretty extreme, considering that the Employee Free Choice Act would give us labor laws similar to those in other capitalist countries, but whatever. This guy angry, we should let him keep ranting.
"This is the demise of a civilization," said Marcus. "This is how a civilization disappears. I am sitting here as an elder statesman and I'm watching this happen and I don't believe it." Donations of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars were needed, it was argued, to prevent America from turning "into France."
The end of civilization! We don't want to end up as a civilization that has met it's demise, you know, like France.
"If a retailer has not gotten involved in this, if he has not spent money on this election, if he has not sent money to [former Sen.] Norm Coleman and all these other guys, they should be shot. They should be thrown out their goddamn jobs," Marcus declared.
Threats of violence... this guy really knows how to fundraise. And to think, these guys are worried about union intimidation. In case threatening to shoot you didn't seal the deal, he offers a plea from Bernie Marcus, the common man:
"This bill may be one of the worst things I have ever seen in my life," he said, explaining that he could have been on "a 350-foot boat out in the Mediterranean," but felt it was more important to engage on this fight.
See, he could have been out there on his 350 foot yacht, bought with money he earned the right way, by busting Home Depot's unions. But he's so passionate about keeping workers without living wages and benefits that he's willing to forgo his millionaire lifestyle for a few months. That my friends, is commitment.

As much easy as it is to have fun with a blowhard like Marcus, the other aspect of the call has serious implications. The companies engaged in this call on how to stop the Employee Free Choice Act include Bank of America and AIG, the same Bank of America and AIG that we just gave billions of dollars to keep in existence.

Nice to know we're helping good people stay in business, huh?

1 comment:

  1. Wow, that guys ranting has a Savage-esque element to it, that same manic hint of hysteria.