Thu Nov 6th, 2014 at 02:14:09 PM EST
There is some rare good news today in American politics. ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, a right wing organization dedicated to bringing neoliberal policies, and worse to US state governments, has lost a major donor.
SAP, a German-based firm with regional offices in the U.S., said Thursday that it will "immediately disassociate itself" from ALEC, the conservative coalition of state legislators and corporations that has come under fire in recent months for its opposition to environmental regulations.
"SAP has decided to immediately disassociate itself from ALEC," a company representative said in a statement given to the left-leaning Center for Media and Democracy and obtained by National Journal. "The membership had been under review for some time and is now being canceled."
When asked if the decision was because of ALEC's conservative stance on climate change, the representative replied, "Not only [that] position, on gun control and voter rights as well." ALEC has historically been tied to pushing looser gun control and stricter voter identification laws, but says it no longer works on social policies.
This did not come out of the blue, there is a European connection. The impetus for SAP's departure was an article published in Manager Magazine in which the glaring discrepancy between how the company presented itself in Europe and its support for a group promoting climate change denial, and worse. The single strongest statement came from the works council:
|Im Umfeld der SAP-Mitarbeitervertretung gibt es jedoch kein Verständnis für SAPs Eskapaden in Amerika: "In einer politischen Organisation, die Positionen der Tea Party vertritt, hat SAP nichts zu suchen", heißt es dort auf Anfrage von manager magazin online. "Den politischen Raum müssen Politiker gestalten - nicht Unternehmensvertreter, die dafür kein Mandat haben."||In the view of the SAP works council there is no misunderstanding of SAP's escapades in America: "SAP has no place in a political organization that represents the positions of the Tea Party", it told manager magazin online. "The political space must make politicians -. Not corporate representatives who have no mandate for it"|
The German is original, and the English my attempt to clean up an automatic translation. I'm involved in groups working in to combat the influence of ALEC. One of the most successful tactics that's been employed thus far to go after the corporations sponsoring the group. Under pressure, a number have quit. In discussing, this SAP case this morning, I mentioned that SAP is hardly the only firm funding ALEC which has a works council in its European facilities.
So I checked the roughly 130 companies currently known to fund the group against the EU's European Work Council database. There are 22 firms that matched, either directly or through parent firms and subsidiaries. They are:
Anheuser-Busch Companies Inc. (Through In-Bev)
Crown, Cork, and Seal
Dow Chemical Company
T-Mobile (Through parent firm Deutsche Telekom)
The question now is how those of us in the US, hoping to make members of the European Works Councils at these companies aware that their firm is funding a group the denies climate change, and is generally trying to screw over workers in the US as much as possible. Since I know that some of our people here at ET have connections with Brussels, I was hoping that someone would be able to tell us how we can locate contact information for members of the works councils (European or otherwise) at these firms. I've been able to locate the names of European Works Councils through the EU database, but nothing about who sits on them, or contact information for them. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
The people pushing austerity and corporate control of politics operate across national borders, if we hope to push back, so to must we.