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Rick Berman
Rick Berman in blue-collar costume for his anti-union ad and in his natural habitat.(Republic Report)

In anti-union circles, there's almost no one more notorious than Rick Berman, who runs or is associated with various astroturf organizations such as the Employment Policies Institute and the Center for Consumer Freedom. His "Center for Union Facts" is currently running a $10 million anti-union campaign, which included an ad shown during the Super Bowl in the Washington, D.C. media market (aimed at influencing politicians and pundits, not working people, in other words). In the ad, which is pushing a bill sponsored by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Rep. Tim Scott (R-SC) that would attack unions in a variety of ways:

“I’m sick of the union taking so much of my money out of every paycheck,” Frank tells his co-worker Bob. “I don’t know why you voted them in.”  “Don’t look at me,” Bob responds. “I never even got a vote.” Bob then polls fellow auto repair shop employees, and they all say they got hired long after the union election. “Only 10 percent of people in unions today actually voted to join a union,” declares a narrator. “Everyone deserves a vote at least one time.”

In fact, it's currently possible for workers to petition to decertify an existing union. But that's not the only misleading thing about the ad. Republic Report finds that Rick Berman himself plays one of the mechanics disavowing the union, a fact they confirmed with Berman's office. They cite Berman's ownership of a $3.3 million home, $2 million of which BermanExposed.org further notes he paid in cash. According to Sourcewatch, Berman's company takes in $10 million a year, and no one knows just how much of that he pays himself. Obviously these ads always use actors, but it's particularly appropriate for a guy who got rich doing corporate astroturf to play a mechanic for an anti-worker television ad.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 03:18 PM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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