Industry Groups to Expose Massive Anti-Worker Lobbying Even as Individual Firms Attempt Low Profile

For Immediate Release

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Kawana Lloyd, (202) 730-7087

Industry Groups to Expose Massive Anti-Worker Lobbying Even as Individual Firms Attempt Low Profile

Hundreds Demonstrate at Chamber of Commerce

WASHINGTON - Nurses, janitors, security officers, and hundreds of other workers from across the country rallied today at the offices of major corporate industry associations to expose the huge scope of their DC lobbying against measures that could help working people in today's economy.

Analysis of lobbying disclosures shows that the eight groups - including the Chamber of Commerce and leading associations for the restaurant, hotel, manufacturing, retail, and financial industries - spent a combined $138.4 million on federal lobbying last year, hired 44 lobbying firms, and used at least 34 different front groups to push their agenda.

While median hourly wage for workers in most of the industries is at or below the federal poverty line for a family of four, a look at 2007 CEO pay at leading firms in the trade groups found executive compensation ranging from $2 million up to $67 million. All opposed the Employee Free Choice Act, which is supported by 73 percent of Americans according to national surveys, and most also fought minimum wage increases and pushed restrictions on family and medical leave.

"At a time when Americans want to end an era of corporate excess that helped bring our economy down, industry groups in Washington are lobbying hard to stop that change from coming," said SEIU President Andy Stern. "It's not a popular position and it's not surprising CEOs are using a lot of front groups to wage this fight for them."

SEIU's "Taking Cover" report has found that out of the 37 companies which hold leadership positions on the boards of the eight trade associations analyzed, only eight have ever independently lobbied on employee free choice and only 11 have made statements on it. Several prominent companies that are members of the trade groups have issued statements recently seeking to portray themselves as neutral. For a copy of the report, please visit www.seiu.org.

Hundreds of workers from states throughout the U.S. were joined by labor, religious and community leaders at five actions today, culminating in rally at Lafayette Park across from the Chamber of Commerce.

Though claiming to speak for all of business, the Chamber has spent $375 million in the last 10 years to advocate for policies that primarily advance big business interests rather than small businesses and working families.

On Tuesday, March 10, the workers will meet with their Senators and Representatives to share their stories about being fired, intimidated, and harassed by their employers for trying to form a union and discuss the importance of the Employee Free Choice Act.

The actions are part of SEIU's Change That Works campaign-a campaign in more than 30 states to bring economic solutions to Main Street by ensuring passage of comprehensive healthcare reform and employee free choice.

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With 2 million members in Canada, the United States and Puerto Rico, SEIU is the fastest-growing union in the Americas. Focused on uniting workers in healthcare, public services and property services, SEIU members are winning better wages, healthcare and more secure jobs for our communities, while uniting their strength with their counterparts around the world to help ensure that workers—not just corporations and CEOs—benefit from today's global economy.

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