Labor Pains: Because Being in a Union can be Painful

Ed Schultz’s $54,736 Conflict of Interest

For two nights in a row, MSNBC’s Blue-Collar Comedy Hour host Ed Shultz has used his show to shill for the now-doomed Employee Free Choice Act. During last night’s segment with American Rights at Work head Mary Beth Maxwell, Schultz suggested that labor “call in the markers” to get EFCA passed.

Here’s the transcript:

How strong is labor going to be, in your opinion, when it comes to going up on that Hill and telling them if it wasn’t for labor, you wouldn’t be in the majority? Are you going to call in the markers on the Democrats?

If you get every Democratic vote and Al Franken gets seated into the Senate, you win this issue. If you don’t, you can do this without any Republicans. I mean, it would seem to me that you would want to do some really tough talk on the Democrats starting at the top and all the way through the ranks. What about that?

MAXWELL: Well, Ed, we are going to win this issue. And I have to say, you know, the labor movement, and not just the labor movement, but an incredible amount of allies are really united around the passage of the Employee Free Choice Act.

First of all, kudos to Maxwell for realizing that Schultz was suggesting that unions commit political bribery. Even the unions know that; as AFL-CIO Organizing Director Stewart Acuff once said, “You can’t make it [EFCA] a litmus test.”

Second of all, Schultz apparently has a problem with basic math. Even with Franken, the Democrats only have 59 of the 60 votes necessary.

But here’s the kicker. I poked around a few unions’ LM-2 forms and discovered that in the last few years, Schultz has received more than $50,000 from labor unions. That’s a serious conflict of interest.
Specifically, here’s the breakdown:

  • Steelworkers – “Publicity/Advertising” – $10,000
  • Air Traffic Controllers – “Broadcasting Services” – $7,304
  • Plumbers Local 189 – “Event” – $5,000
  • Electrical Workers – “Speaking” – $8,616
  • Laborers – “Guest Speaker” – $7,500
  • Air Traffic Controllers – “Speaking Fee” – $5,500
  • AFSCME – “Convention Address” – $5,816
  • Laborers – “Speaking Fee” – $5,000

Update: I found a few more payments in 2006, which I added to the post.

Categories: AFL-CIOCenter for Union FactsEFACEnding Secret BallotsNews