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Democrats Add A Few More “FU’s” to Labor

Remember when Dick Gephardt was running for President as “Mister Labor?’ I sure do.

Well, no more. Add his name to the long list of middle fingers being thrown at labor by the Democratic party. He’s just signed on to help Sodexo in the midst of their dispute with the SEIU, as has former Gore staffer Jeff Trammell:

SEIU is running online ads that show videos of Sodexo employees complaining about worker conditions at the company. They have organized public protests of Sodexo and argue the company is paying its employees wages below poverty levels.

Sodexo has set up a blog to respond to charges from the union. The company argues SEIU is spreading misinformation and its campaign is “part of an ongoing dispute with rival unions, including Unite Here, designed to attract new members.”

The company has also hired Jeff Trammell, a former senior adviser to ex-Vice President Al Gore, to lobby for the firm.

The contracts with Gephardt’s lobbying group and Trammell and Co. represent the first time the food-services company has turned to outside lobbyists to work in Washington, according to a review of records by The Hill. Overall, the group has spent more than $5.6 million on internally hired lobbyists since 2002.

“We have hired those two groups for general business purposes,” said Jaya Bohlman, Sodexo’s vice president for public relations, in a voice mail to The Hill. Sodexo representatives did not respond to requests to elaborate further on the two lobbying contracts.

Gephardt Group Government Affairs has been lobbying for Sodexo since May 5, according to lobbying records, while Trammell and Co. has been lobbying for the company since May 3. Mike Shaffer, a former deputy director for constituent outreach for the 2004 presidential campaign of Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and then-Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.), is also lobbying for Sodexo at Trammell and Co.

Both lobby firms declined to comment for this piece, saying they do not discuss client matters with the press.

Let’s count:

  1. Anonymous “Senior White House official” says “organized labor just flushed $10 million of their members’ money down the toilet on a pointless exercise” opposing the blatantly anti-union Blanche Lincoln, exacerbating tensions that exist because the unions spent so much helping Obama get elected.
  2. Robert Gibbs says he agrees on substance with Anonymous Senior White House official, saying the “money might have been better spent.”
  3. Chuck Schumer congratulates Blanche Lincoln on “Fighting Wall Street with one hand, unions with the other.”
  4. Robert Menendez, the head of the DSCC who dropped a bundle on Arlen Specter, congratulates Blanche on defeating “special interests in Washington” after shaking down the unions for money for half a million this election cycle for the DSCC.. The unions have donated over $15.8 million to DSCC candidates since 2006, and Menendez says he nonetheless expects their financial support for the fall.
  5. And then, to add insult to injury, Chris Van Hollen gives a carve-out to the NRA under the new DISCLOSE Act so they won’t have to reveal their donors, but brags that Unions will not get the same deal.

Not that anyone should be exempt, mind you, but let’s pretend for a moment that the White House isn’t capable of whipping votes for the bill in the absence of NRA support. Why on earth would they pointedly write the language to require unions to comply with regulations that the NRA doesn’t?

Well, maybe because of this:

The Service Employees International Union said Thursday that it has turned in the thousands of signatures necessary to qualify an independent candidate to run against Rep. Larry Kissell (D-N.C.).e

I don’t know why anyone expected any different with Rahm NAFTA Emanuel in the White House, but maybe the reality of the situation is sinking in.

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Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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