The Global Strategy Group is one of the many public relations firms in the United States that plays a behind-the-scenes role in shaping public opinion towards politicians, fossil fuel corporations, banks and more. GSG is a self-described “people-centered” and “inclusive” consulting firm that prides itself on having “led campaigns for changemakers fighting for social justice and racial equality, the environment, ending gun violence, expanding women’s rights, and many other important issues.” Despite its progressive claims, GSG is an anti-women and anti-worker firm that has deep ties with the Democratic Party and is only dedicated to profit.
GSG works with many elected officials in the Democratic Party, including Joe Manchin, the West Virginia Senator who has been in the public spotlight in recent years over his total opposition to any kind of progressive change. Just yesterday, Manchin voted with Republicans against the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would have codified abortion rights into law after facing the attack on Roe v Wade by the leaked Supreme Court opinion.
GSG President Jefrey Pollock played a direct role in helping New York Governor Cuomo navigate public relations when reports of his workplace sexual harassment became public. GSG is also notably connected, through its PR work, to many major corporations that include financial firms like JPMorgan Chase, fossil fuel companies, large pharmaceutical firms, and large technology firms like META (previously Facebook).
Among the big tech corporations, GSG has also worked with Uber and Lyft in their effort to keep their workers classified as contractors rather than as employees, a union-busting effort that would severely damage workers’ abilities to collectively organize themselves.
GSG’s connection to Amazon
Several months prior to Amazon workers winning their union at the JFK 8 warehouse in Staten Island, Amazon had hired GSG to consult on how best to fight the union drive. These tactics included publishing a website, literature, and videos that smear the union with lies. GSG representatives were also present at captive audience meetings, where bosses force workers to listen to anti-union talking points. Dozens of Unfair Labor Practice charges have been filed against Amazon for violations of labor laws, such as retaliation against workers organizing a union.
What’s more, GSG broke federal law by not reporting its relationship with Amazon. The Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act requires firms to report that they are taking on a client within 30 days when consulting on labor relations. Additionally, Amazon failed to report the relationship on its end after a deadline of 90 days from the end of the fiscal year.
This is a blatant and egregious violation of labor laws intended to inform workers organizing of what they are up against. Both parties broke the law to bust their union.
Biden’s ‘pro-labor’ stance: more words than action
Recently, President Biden met with the labor leaders in the White House and expressed rhetorical support for workers unionizing at Amazon, saying that “the choice to join a union” should belong “to workers alone.” Biden even went on to express somewhat of a threat to the corporation, saying, “And by the way, Amazon here we come. Watch.”
President Biden’s Press Secretary Jen Psaki, a previous employee of GSG, clarified that his language does not mean the U.S. government will take a stance in this fight nor will it intervene to support workers.
While Biden expressed verbal support for Amazon workers, and has in the past expressed support for labor in other sectors, his actions do not reflect his words. President Biden has the ability to discipline Amazon for taking measures to sabotage workers organizing for job security, better pay, and safer working conditions, and yet, he has failed to do so.
Early on in his presidency, Biden promised the passage of the Protecting the Right to Organize Act, which would have increased protections against retaliation for union activity as well as expanded the definition of unfair labor practices to include captive audience meetings. Despite the Democrats enjoying a majority in both the House and Senate, the Democratic Party has failed to follow through on its promises.
The hypocrisy of the Democrats exposed
Along with Amazon, GSG has close ties to the Democratic Party.
GSG served as a pollster for Priorities USA, a pro-Biden super PAC in the lead up to the 2020 election. In addition to Joe Manchin, GSG has worked with Senators Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Ed Markey of Massachusetts.
While the Democratic Party espouses a pro-labor line, they have only paid lip service to the issues workers face. Aside from their inaction to enact any meaningful change, their deep ties to GSG highlights their actual agenda to protect profits. The only way workers can achieve real, meaningful change requires organizing to win what they deserve.