ALEC convention protests: Labor vs. lobbyists

Thousands of protesters from labor groups, unions and community organizations to descend on the Chicago convention VIDEO

Topics: Video, ALEC, Chicago, Labor Rights, Unions, Protests, Lobbyists, model legislation, ,

ALEC convention protests: Labor vs. lobbyists (Credit: AP/Carlos Osorio)

For many liberal and left political groups, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has come to symbolize everything wrong with U.S. politics. The lobbying, bill-writing group bring together big industry interests with state politicians to both draft and push forward versions of their cookie-cutter legislation nationwide, with a conservative, neoliberal agenda towards privatization and the decimation of labor rights.

Little surprise, then, that when ALEC meets for its 40th national conference on Aug. 7th – 9th, thousands of union organizers, workers and community groups plan to meet them there in protest. Indeed, as a taster for things to come, on Monday six protesters were arrested at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago, when a small group of protesters in the convention hotel lobby made vocal their displeasure at ALEC’s presence. As Micah Uetricht reported for the Nation:

A group of several dozen hoodie-wearing protesters staged a die-in at the hotel this morning, noting the group’s role in spreading “Stand Your Ground” laws that helped protect George Zimmerman after shooting unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin, a mass rally has been called for Thursday organized by the Chicago Federation of Labor, and other actions are expected throughout the week.

Uetricht contextualized labor’s ongoing turmoil with ALEC and the creeping successes of ALEC-penned legislation:



Targeting ALEC would certainly be in labor’s self-interest: anti-worker and anti-union legislation has been a central focus of the group, with model legislation that includes right-to-work laws, repealing the minimum wage and opposing future minimum wage increases, and other pro-business labor laws. Their fingerprints have been on a number of high-profile legislative battles on labor issues in recent years, including Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s 2011 Budget Repair Bill that led to the state capitol’s occupation, Michigan Republican Gov. Rick Snyder’s right-to-work legislation late last year, and anti-worker (as well as anti-choice) legislation in North Carolina behind the state’s Moral Mondays protests.

In 2013 alone, at least 117 bills resembling the group’s “model bills” on worker compensation and organizing rights have been introduced in state legislatures around the country. Their bills attacking public sector unions have caught the attention of the American Federation of State, Municipal, and County Employees (AFSCME), who have decried the organization in the past and are also encouraging members members to join the protests.

In a city where thousands-strong protests this year have amassed to decry mass public school closures, and where large protests swarmed last year’s NATO summit, Chicago activists are no strangers to protest. The shape, size and color of the coming anti-ALEC actions this week will be worth keeping an eye on.

Watch the video below, via Progress Illinois, of Monday’s pre-protest protest:

Natasha Lennard

Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email nlennard@salon.com.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Burger King Japan

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Burger King's black cheeseburger: Made with squid ink and bamboo charcoal, arguably a symbol of meat's destructive effect on the planet. Only available in Japan.

    Elite Daily/Twitter

    2014's fast food atrocities

    McDonald's Black Burger: Because the laws of competition say that once Burger King introduces a black cheeseburger, it's only a matter of time before McDonald's follows suit. You still don't have to eat it.

    Domino's

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Domino's Specialty Chicken: It's like regular pizza, except instead of a crust, there's fried chicken. The company's marketing officer calls it "one of the most creative, innovative menu items we have ever had” -- brain power put to good use.

    Arby's/Facebook

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Arby's Meat Mountain: The viral off-menu product containing eight different types of meat that, on second read, was probably engineered by Arby's all along. Horrific, regardless.

    KFC

    2014's fast food atrocities

    KFC'S ZINGER DOUBLE DOWN KING: A sandwich made by adding a burger patty to the infamous chicken-instead-of-buns creation can only be described using all caps. NO BUN ALL MEAT. Only available in South Korea.

    Taco Bell

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Taco Bell's Waffle Taco: It took two years for Taco Bell to develop this waffle folded in the shape of a taco, the stand-out star of its new breakfast menu.

    Michele Parente/Twitter

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Krispy Kreme Triple Cheeseburger: Only attendees at the San Diego County Fair were given the opportunity to taste the official version of this donut-hamburger-heart attack combo. The rest of America has reasonable odds of not dropping dead tomorrow.

    Taco Bell

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Taco Bell's Quesarito: A burrito wrapped in a quesadilla inside an enigma. Quarantined to one store in Oklahoma City.

    Pizzagamechangers.com

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Boston Pizza's Pizza Cake: The people's choice winner of a Canadian pizza chain's contest whose real aim, we'd imagine, is to prove that there's no such thing as "too far." Currently in development.

    7-Eleven

    2014's fast food atrocities

    7-Eleven's Doritos Loaded: "For something decadent and artificial by design," wrote one impassioned reviewer, "it only tasted of the latter."

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

Loading Comments...