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Posts Tagged ‘Employment Policies Institute’

MSNBC’s Chris Hayes Challenges Firm Posing As ‘Independent Research Institute’

A couple of days ago we went off on the Employment Policies Institute, an “independent research institute” run by PR firm Berman and Company that lobbies against minimum wage increases and other policies that the fast food industry doesn’t like. Last night MSNBC host Chris Hayes and guest David Sirota of Salon took time to grill Mike Saltsman, the EPI’s only employee.

In cable news speak, “grill” means “yell louder than everyone else in the room.”

Saltsman has a point in saying that labor groups fund studies conducted by groups like The Economic Policy Institute. The problem is that EPI and Berman and Company are the same organization. As we noted in the original post, this kind of work is the very reason people assume that the phrase “public relations professional” means “dishonest corporate shill.”

We do love Saltsman’s claim to speak for “entry-level workers” and his explanation for confusing the public by naming the “institute” after the other EPI: “There are only so many letters in the alphabet, Chris”. Ha ha, very funny.

While it’s nice to see Hayes challenge the EPI, this clip just reminded us why we never watch cable news. How do people sit through this stuff?

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Ethics Fail: PR Firm Doubles as ‘Independent Research Institute’

shutterstock_124525963The fast food industry suffered some terrible PR a few weeks ago when an infographic revealed that a majority of employees at big chains qualify for federal benefits; the headlines read that American taxpayers essentially subsidize these companies’ ability to pay their workers low wages. It’s not a new theme, but it bolstered arguments that Walmart greeters and McD’s managers alike should not be prohibited from unionizing and lobbying for higher pay.

As the story grew, one name popped up over and over again as a contrary source speaking out against any related minimum wage increases: the Employment Policies Institute.

The problem, as revealed by the Center for Media and Democracy‘s PRWatch: EPI is another name for Berman and Co., a PR/lobbying firm created by former restaurant industry executive and labor attorney Rick Berman. He’s also responsible for the American Beverage Institute, a “think tank” fighting smoking bans and efforts to lower blood-alcohol limits used in DUI charges, as well as, a site focused on countering the Humane Society of the United States‘ push for stricter regulations on animal testing.

There are more. Berman is essentially public enemy #1 to anyone who supports government-funded public health initiatives, and he doesn’t seem to mind.

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