Backgrounder: Gillespie’s Career of Siding With Big Business Over Workers

It should be no surprise that Gillespie is getting help from one of the most anti-worker politicians in the country – Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. When asked about Walker’s war on public employee workers’ rights, Gillespie said the move was “democracy” and “we ought to have more of it.”

Beyond cheering on Walker’s assault against the workers of his state, Gillespie has a long history of enriching himself at the expense of workers’ interests. Gillespie pushed for a bill that cut benefits for early retirees – a bill that workers were concerned would hurt their retirement security. He also worked to protect the bank accounts of corporations instead of the workers whose health and livelihoods were at stake.

Just take a look.

 

Gillespie Lobbied For Legislation That Allowed Companies To Cut Benefits For Early Retirees

2005-2006: Yellow Roadway Corp Paid Quinn, Gillespie For Lobbying The Federal Government On Its Behalf; Gillespie Was Listed As One Of The Lobbyists. Between 2005 and 2006, Yellow Roadway Corp paid Quinn, Gillespie & Associates a total of $220,000 for lobbying on its behalf. Gillespie and his firm lobbied Congress and the Executive Office of the President on “Pension Reform Bill.” [U.S. Senate Lobbying Disclosure Act Database, Accessed 6/16/17]

Pension Protection Act Of 2006 Limited Benefits For Early Retirees By Allowing Pension Plan Trustees To Make Changes To The Most Seriously Underfunded Plans

Yellow Roadway Helped Write A Provision Of The Pension Protection Act Of 2006 Which Limited Benefits For Early Retirees. According to Traffic World, “Trucking companies are praising a pension bill that awaits a signature from President Bush. Not so pleased are many truck drivers, particularly unionized drivers who had hoped for an early retirement. […] Prodded by the Teamsters for a Democratic Union, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters fought against the bill because of the so-called ‘red zone’ provision, which limits benefits for early retirees. Earlier in the pension bill debates, the Teamsters sided with LTL trucking companies, UPS and Yellow Roadway in a coalition to help write multi-employer pension reform language. The union pulled out of the coalition after the red-zone language was added to the bill. The multi-employer section of the final bill is ‘very much’ what was pushed for by the Multi-Employer Pension Coalition, said American Trucking Associations Senior Vice President Timothy Lynch, who helped draft the language.” [Traffic World, 8/14/06]

Workers Believed The Plan Would Hurt Their Financial Futures. According to Traffic World, “But unionized workers said the changes that cleared their last congressional hurdle with overwhelming Senate approval this month will hurt their financial futures.” [Traffic World, 8/14/06]

The Provision Allowed Pension Plan Trustees More Leeway To Make Benefit Changes To The Most Seriously Underfunded Pension Plans, Or Otherwise Referred To As The “Red Zone Plan.” According to Traffic World, “The red zone concept became one of the most divisive parts of the multi-employer section with unionized workers mobilizing against it. The Teamsters, who had been part of the multi-employer coalition, sent letters to Congress opposing the red zone section, which allows gives pension plan trustees more leeway to make benefit changes to plans in the ‘red zone,’ or the most seriously underfunded plans. The language allows companies to trim early retirement benefits in what Lynch described as a ‘shared pain’ concept.” [Traffic World, 8/14/06]

  • The Provision Was Described As A “Shared Pain” Concept. According to Traffic World, “The language allows companies to trim early retirement benefits in what Lynch described as a ‘shared pain’ concept.” [Traffic World, 8/14/06]

  • Pension Protection Act Of 2006 Was Supported By Yellow Roadway Corp. According to a press release, “Late this evening, Congress passed H.R. 4, the Pension Protection Act of 2006 by a vote of 279 to 131. This bill will provide important reforms and strengthen the pension system for America’s workers and retirees. […] H.R. 4 is supported by a wide range of regional labor groups and employers such as Delta, The Kroger Company and United Auto Workers (UAW). A more extensive list includes the following supporters: […] Yellow Roadway Corporation.” [US Fed News, 7/28/06]

Gillespie Lobbied To Protect The Interests Of Manufacturers And Insurers Facing Asbestos Liability

Gillespie Lobbied On Behalf Of DaimlerChrysler To Protect The Company From Asbestos Liability Issues

1999 And 2005-2007: DaimlerChrysler Paid QGA Public Affairs And Barbour, Griffith & Rogers To Lobby The Federal Government On Asbestos Issues, CAFTA, The Energy Bill, Pension Bill And Bankruptcy Issues; Gillespie Was Listed As One Of The Lobbyists For Both Firms. In 1999, DaimlerChrysler paid $100,000 to Barbour, Griffith & Rogers for federal lobbying services on bankruptcy issues. From 2006 to 2007, DaimlerChrysler paid QGA Public Affairs $560,000 for additional federal lobbying services. QGA lobbied the Department of Commerce, the Office of the President, the Department of Treasury, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Energy, and Congress on “Energy Bill, Asbestos Issues, CAFTA, Pension Bill, and General Banking Issues.” [Secretary of the Senate, Lobbying Report, “DaimlerChrysler,” Filed 2/9/06]

OSHA Posted A Safety And Information Bulletin On The Risk To Mechanics Of Asbestos Exposure From Foreign-Made Brakes, Despite Opposition From DaimlerChrysler

Occupational Safety And Health Administration (OSHA) Decided To Keep A Safety And Health Information Bulletin (SHIB) On Asbestos In Brakes Intact On Its Website. According to InsideOSHAOnline, “OSHA has decided to keep its Safety and Health Information Bulletin (SHIB) on asbestos in brakes intact on its Web site, and also will not suspend Ira Wainless, the staff member who wrote the SHIB and was threatened with suspension for not changing the document, The Baltimore Sun reported.” [InsideOSHAOnline, 1/8/07]

  • The SHIB Warned That Mechanics Faced Asbestos Exposure From Foreign-Made Brakes. According to InsideOSHAOnline, “The SHIB warns mechanics face asbestos exposure from foreign-made brakes.” [InsideOSHAOnline, 1/8/07]

  • Daimler-Chrysler, Along With Ford And General Motors, Paid More Than $23 Million To Fight Asbestos Lawsuits From Former Workers And Opposed OSHA Warning On Foreign-Made Brakes. According to InsideOSHAOnline, “The article says Henshaw asked that the SHIB released by OSHA be altered because ‘…former OSHA chief Henshaw worked with two consulting firms run by Dennis Paustenbach, ChemRisk and Exponent. These firms, according to [Ed Stern of Local 12 of the American Federation of Government Employees] and documents obtained by The Sun, have been paid more than $23 million since 2001 by Ford, General Motors and Daimler-Chrysler to help fight asbestos lawsuits brought against them by former workers.’” [InsideOSHAOnline, 1/8/07]

DaimlerChrysler Denied Any Proof Of Adverse Health Effects From Asbestos In Brakes

A Spokesman For Daimler-Chrysler Corp Said “There Is No Proof Of Asbestos In Brakes Ever Harming Those Working On Or Around Them.” According to Industrial Safety & Hygiene News, “The safety bulletin was posted on the site in July, but was called scientifically invalid by industries that use asbestos. ‘There is no proof of asbestos in brakes ever harming those working on or around them,’ Michael Palese, a spokesman for Daimler-Chrysler Corp.’s legal communications, told The Baltimore Sun. Palese pointed to 18 studies that showed the absence of danger from asbestos in brakes.” [Industrial Safety & Hygiene News, 1/1/07]

  • OSHA, The EPA, And NIOSH Have Said Asbestos Exposure Can Cause Asbestosis, Cancer, And Mesothelioma, And Was Considered A Health Hazard Regardless Of Its Source. According to Industrial Safety & Hygiene News, “Physicians and scientists from OSHA, the EPA and NIOSH have said that asbestos exposure can cause asbestosis, cancer and mesothelioma. According to NIOSH, asbestos is considered a health hazard regardless of its source.” [Industrial Safety & Hygiene News, 1/1/07]

 

Gillespie Lobbied On Behalf Of Equitas Limited To Protect The Company From Asbestos Liability Issues

2005-2006: Equitas Limited Paid QGA Public Affairs $660,000 To Lobby Congress And The Office Of The President For Asbestos Legislation; Gillespie Was Listed As One Of The Lobbyists. From 2005 to 2006, Equitas Limited paid QGA Public Affairs $660,000 for federal lobbying services. QGA lobbied the Executive Office of the President, and Congress on “Asbestos Legislation.” [Secretary of the Senate, Lobbying Report, “Equitas Limited,” Filed 2/9/06]

Equitas Was Established By Lloyd’s To Deal With Asbestos And Environmental Exposures Prior To The Early 1990s. According to the National Underwriter, “In addition, Equitas, the runoff vehicle established by Lloyd’s to deal with asbestos and environmental exposures prior to the early 1990s, is outraged by a provision in the current bill that mandates a safe harbor for all defendants and insurers involved in cases where payments mandated by the trust fund legislation would force them into bankruptcy.” [National Underwriter, 5/30/05]

Equitas Lobbied In 2004 On Asbestos Claims. According to New York Magazine, “A few months before he left office, Thompson received a call. This time, his career angel was Law & Order creator Dick Wolf, who offered him the role of Arthur Branch over the phone. He immediately accepted. Thompson kept his hand in the lobbying game in 2004 by taking on Equitas Ltd., a British reinsurer responsible for paying out millions in asbestos claims.” [New York Magazine, 7/30/07]

  • Quinn Gillespie Lobbied For Equitas As Part Of Its Asbestos Team. According to the Washington Post, “Thompson began working for Equitas in 2004 as part of a gold-plated team that included some of Washington’s best-known lobbying firms: Quinn Gillespie & Associates (led by Edward W. Gillespie, a former chairman of the Republican National Committee), Ickes & Enright Group (led by Harold Ickes, an adviser to Democratic presidential candidate and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York) and DLA Piper, one of D.C.’s biggest lobbying law firms.” [Washington Post, 6/12/07]

Equitas Backed Senate Legislation That Would Limit Liability In Asbestos Cases. According to New York Magazine, “Equitas wanted Senate legislation that would limit its liability and paid Thompson $760,000 over the next three years. He also serves as a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and in 2005 help shepherd Supreme Court chief justice John Roberts through his Senate confirmation hearings.” [New York Magazine, 7/30/07]