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An Open Letter to Massachusetts Labor Leaders


September 6, 2006

For more information, contact
Pat Clark or Ray Rogers at (718) 852-2808
Media Advisory: Deval Patrick vs. Labor

DID YOU KNOW Deval Patrick's lavish new second home in Richmond was built entirely without union labor? Or that union contractors weren't even allowed to bid on the job, according to a Berkshire County Building Trades Council leader?

DID YOU KNOW about Mr. Patrick's pre-Coca-Cola legal work, especially how he helped Texaco evade a 1789 law (217 years ago!) that allows foreigners victimized by someone or a business based in the U.S. to have their day in court? And how as Coca-Cola's top counsel he threw the same legalistic bomb at Colombian Coca-Cola workers, their families and their union?

DID YOU KNOW that the names of prominent anti-union law firms are showing up frequently on Mr. Patrick's campaign funds disclosure forms? Or that the Boston firm in which Mrs. Patrick is a partner boasts of helping its clients with advice on "union avoidance"?

DO YOU REALLY THINK Massachusetts' next "First Couple" should be a couple of very successful pro-management, anti-union lawyers?

TO FIND OUT MORE, start by reading the Open Letter to Massachusetts Labor Leaders that follows; it was sent to 650 Massachusetts labor leaders along with the "Deval the Fee Hugger" leaflet and "An Appeal to All Communities: Stop Coca-Cola's Abuses!" leaflet. More information can be found at

Thank you.

An Open Letter to Massachusetts Labor Leaders

September 5, 2006

Dear Brothers and Sisters:

Massachusetts AFL-CIO President Robert Haynes has accused me of "parachut(ing) in from another state" while "likely" violating campaign finance laws and "mislead(ing) people into thinking (I) speak for organized labor."

All of these accusations stem from the fact that Mr. Haynes not only chooses to ignore gubernatorial candidate Deval Patrick's blatantly anti-labor record, but resents anyone who tries to remind the voters about it.

I was born and raised in Beverly, Mass. and graduated from UMass-Amherst. Many of my closest friends and family members reside in Massachusetts and I visit them often. I have never claimed that I speak for organized labor, nor have I violated any OCPF [Office of Campaign and Political Finance] laws. More importantly, unlike Mr. Haynes, I would never suggest that Deval Patrick could possibly be "the champion of working people come November." Mr. Patrick has, after all, spent years championing misguided policies of Coca-Cola, Texaco and Ameriquest that contradicted both labor's ideals and the public interest.

Mr. Haynes should realize that a Big Business power broker like Mr. Patrick doesn't deserve any support from unions when running for office. Mr. Patrick has already collected nearly $800,000 in out-of-state contributions "parachuted" to him from many sources, including contributors who list notorious union-busting law firms like Jackson Lewis and Seyfarth Shaw as their affiliation. About $24,000 came from employees of the Boston law firm Ropes & Gray, which publicly acknowledges that it helps clients with "employee discipline, implementation of reductions in force (and)...union avoidance." (Incidentally, Mr. Patrick's wife, Diane, is a partner in the Labor and Employment Department at Ropes & Gray.)

A closer look at Mr. Patrick's past raises many more questions that both voters and labor representatives should be asking. As Texaco's Vice President and General Counsel from 1999 to 2001, he was a principal architect of the Texaco-Chevron merger, which enriched a few oil executives but also resulted in the loss of thousands of jobs. When he wasn't helping impede competition and hastening the consolidation of the oil industry, he was Texaco's point man on opposing the right of 30,000 poverty-stricken Ecuadorians to sue the company for causing massive damage to people's health and their environment.

This legal work for Texaco eerily foreshadowed Mr. Patrick's later work for Coca-Cola. Just as he sought to prevent Ecuadorians from using the Alien Tort Claims Act (ATCA), a federal law that has been in force since 1789, to redress their serious grievances against a U.S. corporation, he responded to the systematic intimidation, kidnapping, torture and murder of union leaders at Coke's Colombian bottling plants by insisting that Colombian workers and their union had no right to invoke the ATCA. Lawsuits filed in 2001 and 2006 by the International Labor Rights Fund and the United Steelworkers, AFL-CIO, make it abundantly clear that Coke managers collaborated with paramilitary thugs who sought to destroy the SINALTRAINAL union.

As Coca-Cola's Executive VP, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, Mr. Patrick operated in an atmosphere of unbridled greed in which he and other executives raked in hundreds of millions in bonuses and stock options, even as thousands of workers were being laid off. Meanwhile, he claimed that Coke's labor relations in Colombia were exemplary and falsely asserted in an Oct. 13, 2003 letter that "most workers in most bottling operations [in Colombia] are organized by labor unions." In fact, of the approximately 8,000 Colombian workers in the Coca-Cola "system," about 90 percent are considered "flexible" or "subcontracted," with no union representation, no job security, shockingly low pay and few, if any, benefits. The actual percentage of Colombian workers in the Coca-Cola "system" who belong to unions is approximately 5 percent at best.

On Mr. Patrick's watch, Coke avoided paying billions in taxes through the use of offshore tax havens. Tax avoidance and corporate welfare schemes supported by top executives of companies like Coca-Cola cheat governments out of badly needed revenues and increase the burdens on individuals and small businesses. As Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) has stated: "When Coca-Cola, decide they want to minimize their participation in the payment of taxes for that which we enjoy in this country, it bothers me...I'd like to see just a small dose of patriotism with some of these companies because they do well as American companies, they're protected by our military, they access all our transportation, our education facilities and so on. They want all the benefits of American citizenship except that of paying taxes."

Mr. Patrick resigned as a board member at Ameriquest's parent company, ACC Capital Holdings, on July 1, 2006. This finance company, accused of "predatory lending practices" and sued by the attorneys general of 49 states, picked the pockets of hundreds of Massachusetts residents before it finally agreed to a $325 million nationwide settlement.

Massachusetts Democrats may be especially interested to learn that Roland and Dawn Arnall, the principal owners of Ameriquest, were Honorary Finance Chairs of President Bush's 2005 Inaugural Committee and have been major donors and fundraisers to GOP candidates and those who instigated the nasty "Swift Boat-style" attacks on John Kerry. And "Democrat" Patrick wrote a letter enthusiastically supporting Roland Arnall's appointment as U.S. ambassador to the Netherlands. Ameriquest paid Mr. Patrick $360,000 last year to attend a few meetings of its board.

While the construction of Mr. and Mrs. Patrick's multi-million dollar, 24-room mansion in Richmond, Mass. might be considered strictly a personal matter, the public should know it was built by non-union labor. Union contractors were actually excluded from the bidding process, according to a Berkshire County Building Trades Council leader. As President Haynes certainly knows, the construction unions play an important role in providing fair wages and safer job sites and protecting undocumented workers from exploitation.

The mortgage holder on the Patricks' other home in Milton, Mass. is none other than SunTrust Banks, the Atlanta institution so closely tied to Coke since its first public stock offering in 1919 that it is known as "Coke's bank." Coke CEO E. Neville Isdell serves on the board at SunTrust, which currently holds more than $4.3 billion in Coke stock.

There can be no question where Deval Patrick's allegiances lie. If you want another politician with a Republican-corporate mindset and an affinity for the likes of Coca-Cola, Texaco and Ameriquest, Patrick is your man. But if you want to take your government back from Big Business, you must look elsewhere.

In solidarity,

Ray Rogers
Campaign to Stop Killer Coke
Corporate Campaign, Inc.
(718) 852-2808

P.S.: I would greatly appreciate your help in distributing the enclosed "Deval the Fee Hugger" leaflet. I can be reached at (718) 852-2808 or

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