U.S. Labor Department Has Anti-Union
Union activists usually don’t have to look hard
to prove that the U.S. Labor Department has been
an abysmal failure at protecting workers from greedy multinational corporations.
The agency has now reached a new low: The Citizens for Responsibility
and Ethics in Washington (CREW) in June released documents showing just
how chummy the relationship is between the department and the multibillion-dollar
“These documents make it clear that under the leadership of Secretary
Elaine Chao, the Department of Labor has become anti-labor,” said
Melanie Sloan, executive director of CREW. “It is disgraceful
that the very department designed to focus on improving the lives of
American laborers is disseminating anti-union propaganda and developing
relationships with anti-union organizations. American workers deserve
CREW says the documents it received from a Freedom of Information request
it filed show “a close and supportive relationship” between
the agency and Richard Berman, director of the anti-union Web site,
the Center for Union Facts (CUF). Berman gained fame for being the public
face for companies fighting tougher anti-drunken driving laws, living
wage ordinances, clean air initiatives and other progressive issues.
One of the e-mails shows that Chao agreed to be profiled for one of
Berman’s many ultra-conservative, anti-worker fronts, the First
The documents also include an e-mail indicating that agency staffer
Lynn Gibson set up a meeting between Berman and department staff. In
another, Gibson tells a CUF staff person that she will send out e-mails
related to CUF’s Web site to her “network.” E-mails
obtained by CREW and sent out by department staff include an op-ed drafted
by Berman, anti-union newspaper accounts, as well as anti-union blogs
and news releases.
Claiming privilege, the agency has withheld e-mail correspondence, including
correspondence from Chao that directly refers to Berman and his organizations.
CREW plans to file a lawsuit to make the department release the documents
detailing the full extent of its relationship with Berman.