Photo By: 
David Shankbone

The Jackson Lewis PAC

This dirtbag union busting law firm created a political fund and just bought Chuck Schumer.

Brian Young's picture
Mar 31, 2017

When a company is facing a union organizing drive, there is one company that they call to break the union, Jackson Lewis.  For decades, they have been brought in to break union drives for some of the largest companies in the world, including IKEA and Boeing. If breaking unions is not enough, Jackson Lewis is now taking a page out of Koch Industries playbook and buying politicians on both sides of the aisle, including politicians who claim to be friendly to labor.

In 2016, Jackson Lewis formed a political action committee to begin influencing politicians both nationally, through a federal political action committee (PAC) and in New York through a state PAC.  According to the Village Voice, they formed the PAC following the merger between Jackson Lewis and Wilson Elser, a major lobbyist in the state. Some of their clients include Tishman Speyer, the influential real estate firm, the New York Gaming Association, and NYU- all of which are major union employers in New York. 

During the 2016 election cycle, Jackson Lewis handed out $70,500 to federal candidates.  At the federal level 62% went to Democrats, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Jeff Sessions (R-AL).  In New York, the strongest union state in the country, Jackson Lewis donated $20,000 to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s reelection campaign and $1,000 to former labor organizer and now New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.  Nearly every Democrat who is in contention to be the next City Council Speaker received a donation from Jackson Lewis as well.  This is a troubling revelation since New York City holds elections this year and one of the key campaign issues will be around new construction in New York, and whether the city will continue to make it easier for new developments to be built non-union. According to the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) since Mayor Bill DeBlasio and Mark-Viverito took over, there has been a 26% drop in large scale residential project that are being done by union contractors. This has also led to a sharp increase in injuries and deaths related in the construction industry.  In the last City Council election, REBNY spent $21.7 million to elect development friendly politicians who opposed any plans to make job sites safer and more union friendly.

While Jackson Lewis and the politicians that they are buying claim that these donations are unrelated to their union busting work, working people need to worry about the influence that this law firm is gaining in DC and Albany.  Already we are seeing a shift in the reaction to the donations.  New York City Councilmember Rory Lancman, a politician who has run with the support of the New York City Central Labor Council, told the Village Voice that Jackson Lewis “has many good clients who I’m sure support the good work I do.”  I guess we can count on Rory to no longer do the work of the people, but instead do the work of union busters. 

With New York’s strong union ties, it has always been thought that the Empire State would be the final holdout against Right to Work (for Less) legislation.  The establishment of this PAC calls that thought into question.  We know that New York’s two most powerful Democrats Chuck Schumer and Andrew Cuomo have now been bought, can we really trust them to stand up for union members and the working people of our state?

Sign up for our e-Newsletter!