07/14/2011

New Site Exposes Secret Efforts to Kill Workers' Rights

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A nonprofit investigative reporting group called the Center for Media and Democracy has unveiled a trove of more than 800 "model" bills and resolutions secretly voted on by corporations and politicians through the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). The bills and resolutions on ALEC Exposed include model legislation supporting vouchers and attacks on teacher tenure, seniority and layoffs.

The center reports that "through the corporate-funded American Legislative Exchange Council, global corporations and state politicians vote behind closed doors to try to rewrite state laws that govern your rights." These so-called model bills reach into almost every area of American life and often directly benefit huge corporations. ALEC has written measures that limit workers' rights, drain labor unions of resources for protecting employees, undermine consumer protections, attempt to funnel tax dollars to for-profit corporations through privatization schemes, and push the "free trade" agenda that has shipped well-paying American jobs overseas.

ALEC-written bills, which largely benefit the organization's corporate members, have been introduced in legislatures in every state—but without disclosure to the public that corporations had previously drafted or voted on them through ALEC. The corporations involved spend thousands of dollars in unreported contributions to ALEC.

Before the Center for Media and Democracy published this collection of bills, it was difficult to trace the numerous controversial and extreme provisions popping up in legislatures across the country directly to ALEC and its corporate underwriters. The center obtained copies of the bills after one of the thousands of people with access shared them, and a whistle-blower provided a copy to the center.

The Nation has a detailed story on ALEC and its model bills. [Priscilla Nemeth, the Center for Media and Democracy]

July 14, 2011