Dec 22, 2009

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce named Scrooge of the Year

The results have been tabulated and the winner of the - actually loser - 2009 National Scrooge of the Year is the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, thanks to its narrow, radical agenda advocating for anti-worker, profit-focused solutions to the broken health care, labor, and environmental systems.

The annual contest for the greediest, most cold-hearted company or person of the year is put on by the National Jobs with Justice, and voting took place between Dec. 7-21. The anti-worker and middle class chamber beat out nominees Bank of America, nominated for their role in the sub-prime lending crisis and failure to extend credit to small businesses; Hyatt Hotels for their Scrooge-like firing of 100 housekeepers in Boston and other anti-worker actions’ Publix Supermarkets for their resisting the call to be part of the solution to human rights violations in Florida fields by continuing to buy tomatoes from growers prosecuted for modern-day slavery; and student loan lenders Sallie Mae and Citibank for their expensive, variable rate loans for students.

“There was plenty of competition for the award this year, but the similarities between Scrooge and the Chamber of Commerce were hard to beat,” said Jobs with Justice Executive Director Sarita Gupta. “The ghost of years past would show that the policies they've promoted including deregulation and maximizing profits at the expense of workers are directly connected to the destruction of America's middle class."

Many people confuse the U.S. Camber of Commerce with their local chambers that actually promote the community and local business. Voters chose to dishonor the U.S. Chamber of Commerce as their loser this year as it's became increasingly clear that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has developed into a front group for a few narrow interests, not a membership association that represents the voice of mainstream American businesses. The Chamber has spent millions of dollars lobbying against legislation that would benefit workers and families like the Employee Free Choice Act, health insurance reform, paid sick days, and environmental regulations. Their extreme positions have led some companies and local chapters of the Chamber to disaffiliate from the national group.

Jobs with Justice is a national organization with the vision of lifting up workers’ rights and struggles as part of a larger campaign for economic and social justice and worker‘s rights.

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