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Today, the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD), publisher of the award-winning ALECexposed.org, launches WageCrushers.org, a web resource devoted to exposing the corporations, trade associations, "think tanks," and front groups working hard against better wages, benefits, and family-supporting jobs for the American workforce.
"Because local campaigns to pass city and county ordinances to raise the wage and expand access to paid sick days are winning across the country, the Wage Crushers are doubling down in their efforts to hold down wages and disempower working people. With this new online resource, the Center for Media and Democracy pulls back the curtain on the powerful special interests that are literally leading the charge against the higher wages and benefits, like paid sick days, that support working families," said Mary Bottari, deputy director of the Center for Media and Democracy.
The wage crushers have been hard at work. By 2022, three-quarters of all U.S. jobs will only require a high school education or less, according to estimates by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Nearly all of those jobs will be low-wage service industry jobs. Americans spend an estimated $152 billion each year supplementing wages, health care, and other basic costs of living for workers, amounting to billions in indirect subsidies to profitable corporations like Walmart and McDonald's.
CMD has been at the forefront of documenting their tactics, such as the one-two punch posed by state "preemption" laws that block and override local legislation, and aggressive litigation against cities and counties, such as the American Hotel and Lodging Association's lawsuit against Los Angeles for its raising of hotel worker wages and the International Franchise Association's lawsuit against Seattle's $15/hr minimum wage ordinance. This strategy was discussed by top lobbyists at a recent American Legislative Exchange Council meeting, as detailed by CMD.
WageCrushers.org identifies some of the key behind-the-scenes players in anti-worker campaigns. Learn more about:
Politicians: The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and its local government offshoot the American City County Exchange (ACCE). Through ALEC and ACCE, lobbyists and politicians vote behind closed doors on 'model bills' that benefit the corporate bottom line, such as the "Minimum Wage Repeal Act," prevailing wage preemption, and so-called "Right-to-Work" legislation. Click to learn more about ALEC and ACCE.
Front Groups: Front groups and phony think tanks run by PR flack Richard Berman, dubbed "Dr. Evil" by 60 Minutes. Berman has boasted about his aggressive campaigns against unions, saying, "I get up every morning and I try and figure out how to screw with the labor unions." Learn more about Berman and his deceptive PR campaigns here.
Trade Associations: The International Franchise Association is intensively lobbying against the ruling by the general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board that McDonald's is a "joint employer" and potentially liable for labor violations committed at franchised stores. The American Hotel and Lodging Association, initiator of a lawsuit against Los Angeles' wage increase for hotel workers, is spinning $15 per hour as an "extreme wage" while CEOs of the chains it represents are paid millions each year. For decades, the National Restaurant Association has defended a $2.13 per hour sub-minimum wage for tipped workers with heavy lobbying and political spending.
Corporations: Read about the political influence of key corporate players like McDonald's, Walmart, and temp agencies like Adecco and Manpower.
Tactics and Trends: From preemption laws that block local paid sick days ordinances, to so-called "right to work" policies, to outright wage theft, wage crushers use a wide range of tactics that combine to limit wages and benefits, reduce corporate accountability, and disempower workers.
CMD's Jessica Mason and Zach Peters contributed to this resource.