If you are a Comcast or Time Warner subscriber then you should be aware of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).
Comcast and Time Warner are funders of ALEC, a Washington, DC-based politically ultra-conservative non-profit that thrives on operating in the shadows of American government to push anti-worker, anti-union legislation in statehouses across the country. Founded in 1973, ALEC supports free market principles and courts financial support from various foundations, including those controlled by the billionaire Koch Brothers.
ALEC sponsors private meetings allowing state lawmakers and corporate executives to frame legislation that is later introduced in state legislatures. The laws tilt in the favor of big business. ALEC has pushed legislation that has been harmful to our members’ right to collectively bargain and has also proposed other anti-union policies. One of ALEC’s top legislative priorities for the year is to advocate policies that would change public pensions. The group is encouraging states including Missouri and Illinois to consider shifting to defined contribution plans such as 401(k)s and away from traditional defined benefit plans.
ALEC’s success has been its ability to operate in secret and to gain access to legislators while providing an anonymous cover for its corporate sponsors to press their agenda. The organization continues to remain a threat because it pushes model legislation in all 50 states.
As for the cable and media conglomerates Comcast and Time Warner, as they move forward with plans to merge, their business and legislative practices are in the spotlight.
Our union brothers and sisters at the Communications Workers of America says federal regulators need to carefully review a merger the size of Comcast and Time Warner. The merger raises concerns about quality jobs, competition, consumer costs and market structure, CWA says.
As ALEC’s agenda continues to get more attention, about 90 corporations and non-profits have distanced themselves from the organization.