Unions Contract…

Unions Contract Out to PR Firms That Work for Anti-Worker Groups

As labor seeks to communicate its message in the media and influence policy, many unions are looking to outside consultant firms. These groups sometimes provide the technical expertise, media suaveness, and necessary connections for unions to get their message out to the right audience. However, a recent joint investigation by In These Times and Republic Report reveals that several millions dollars of union members’ dues have been going to firms that are actively working against labor’s top priorities on behalf of business interests. In some cases, unions are paying consultants who are simultaneously working on behalf of union-busting causes.
SKDKnickerbocker (SKD) is one of the top firms providing outside assistance to labor coalitions while raking in hundreds of thousands of dollars for work to undermine organized labor, particularly teachers unions. Led by Anita Dunn, a former White House communications director and current Democratic Party advisor, SKD has spearheaded state-based campaigns for Students First, the anti-teacher’s union charter and school privatization group founded by former Chancellor of DC Public Schools Michelle Rhee.
In Ohio, Rhee’s group and state groups funded by Students First pushed Senate Bill 5, Gov. John Kasich’s attempt to end collective bargaining for most public sector employees. (The bill was later repealed by labor-led ballot initiative.) In Michigan, a leaked Power Point presentation shows that Students First promoted a bill to weaken collective bargaining for teachers. And in New York, according to a presentation obtained by In These Times, a SKD executive named Stefan Friedman worked on a team to produce education reform ads to demonize teacher unions. SKD ads cast teachers’ unions as special interests that cost the state millions of dollars in taxpayer money.

Read more: http://inthesetimes.com/working/entry/13580/unions_contract_to_pr_firms_that_work_for_anti-worker_groups

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