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McDonald's worker Keyana McDowell, 20, (L) strikes outside McDonald's in Los Angeles, California, December 5, 2013. Organizers say fast food workers will strike in 100 U.S. cities, and there will be protests in 100 more, to fight for $15 an hour wages and
I get a lot of press releases about labor issues. Most of them are mass mailings trying to get coverage in an ever-crowded media market that is more concerned with the flavor of the week instead of news that actually impacts the average American. Every once in a while one of these press releases catches my eye. This week I received a a press release about SEIU pushing for phony protests; however, I think they sent this press release to the wrong guy.

This was sent out by "Worker Center Watch," a group that according to their website:

"aims to preserve the balance that has effectively governed workplace relations for many decades by exposing the direct operational linkages and funding between unions and worker centers, and by highlighting the worker center tactics that push the bounds of legality."
In other words, big scary unions are trying to organize and improve the lives of minimum and low wage workers in various industries—and we can't be having any of that.

Nowhere on the website can we find a list of staff or directors, let alone who is financing this anti-union push. According to The Nation, Worker Center Watch is funded by pretty much who you would think it would be.

Worker Center Watch was registered by the former head lobbyist for Walmart. Parquet Public Affairs, a Florida-based government relations and crisis management firm for retailers and fast food companies, registered the Worker Center Watch website. The firm is led by Joseph Kefauver, formerly the president of public affairs for Walmart and government relations director for Darden Restaurants. Throughout the year, Parquet executives have toured the country, giving lectures to business groups on how to combat the rise of what has been called “alt-labor.”
What has raised the hackles of Worker Center Watch? Based on their website, they are in fear of an empowered and knowledgeable workforce cutting into their corporate masters' profits. Just some examples of the propaganda on their website: The first is for model legislation in Michigan and Georgia that would "put some limited restrictions on mass picketing to ensure the safety of innocent bystanders, neighbors and customers"—which restricts free speech and is a violation of the first amendment, but hey, what do they care as long as they can keep raking in the profits?

Of course what anti-union shadow group could go without saying anything about minimum wage increases? Well, not this one! With Seattle poised to raise their minimum wage to $15 an hour, the puppet masters behind Worker Center Watch, in a page pulled right out of the red scares of another century, had this to say:

If Seattle really wants to nail business owners, why stop at $15?  Did a minimum wage of $20 or $25 not occur to the city’s socialists and anarchists?  Did the worker centers who pushed for the untenable wage – with huge help from the SEIU – not dream big enough?
Yep, Socialists, anarchists and the big bad SEIU want to "nail" business owners. Of course, the low-information anti-union folks who vote against their best interests will just eat statements like that up. The truth of the matter is that the minimum wage has not kept up with inflation and no one can survive on minimum wage. This isn't nailing business owners. It is shifting the costs of their workers off of public assistance and back onto the employer. Why should my tax dollars subsidize the Wal-Marts and McDonald's of the world when we have bridges that need to be repaired and schools that are desperate for funding?

Astroturf groups like Worker Center Watch do not have the best interest of the average American in mind. Sure, they may make it sound like they have your best interest at heart; however, the only thing they care about is preventing people from organizing and having a voice in the workplace. The reason there are groups like Worker Center Watch is for one purpose and one purpose only: To prevent the American worker from having a voice in the workplace. This is not about protecting your rights. This kind of campaign is about ensuring that you have no rights in the workplace, and that wages stay low and profits stay high.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Sun May 11, 2014 at 04:29 PM PDT.

Also republished by Badger State Progressive and Daily Kos.

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