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Bankers: Bailout Billions for Us, No Free Choice for You

Jeremy Sprinkle
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(Picture) Employee Free Choice ActRobber barons declare war on Employee Free Choice Act

They're at it again: mega banks are taking billions of dollars in bailout money with one hand and spending that money with the other to lobby for defeat of legislation that would make it easier for workers to organize and bargain for a better life.

The Employee Free Choice Act, which would put the choice of how to form a union back where it belongs - with employees - and increase penalties on employers who break labor laws, was introduced in the Congress on Tuesday, March 10.

The next day, Citigroup, which has received $50 billion in federal aid, put your tax dollars at work pushing Big Business' anti-union agenda. From the AFL-CIO Blog:

Sam Stein of the Huffington Post reports that Citigroup hosted a private conference call yesterday to bolster opposition to the Employee Free Choice Act that included a senior executive at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a business lobbying group that has put tens of millions of dollars into the anti-Employee Free Choice disinformation campaign. Jane Hamsher at Firedoglake notes that the Citi stock analyst who downgraded Wal-Mart over fears of the Employee Free Choice Act passing was on the call, too.

Before the November elections and only days after receiving billions of dollars of taxpayer money, Bank of America hosted a similar call where opponents of the Employee Free Choice Act, including Bernie Marcus of the Marcus Foundation and Rick Berman of the so-called Center for Union Facts, insisted (illegally) that CEOs and industry contribute directly to candidates that would vote against the Employee Free Choice Act.

"Citigroup and the Chamber of Commerce have no shame," said Stephen Lerner, director of the Private Equity Project at SEIU. "One day, Citi issues a report claiming it would hurt the stock of the Billionaire Walton family if free choice passes and workers win decent wages. Then they follow it up with a conference call where the Chamber of Commerce claims paying workers a living wage is bad for the economy."

"Let's remember, these are the same business 'experts' who brought us the housing crisis, record unemployment and the stock market collapse," said Lerner. "Now they're trying to tell us that raising wages, growing the middle class and putting more money in workers' pockets is somehow bad for the economy. American workers' patience for economic theory from wealthy corporate interests wore thin about two bailouts ago."