It is so very hard to understand that magnitude of The Fund's creepiness and their overall damage to the progressive movement unless you've worked for them under a union drive.
Yes, they were shady before. During briefings, many of their so-called lobbyists don't seem to know what they hell they're talking about. They talk about the problem (they're awfully good at citing negative statistics that are meant to elicit visceral responses from potential donors), but do not offer solutions. Should they offer a band-aid solution via a bill, they sometimes don't have the name of the bill number handy when asked (I'm sure this ignorance flies well with members of Congress, or whoever it is that they claim to be talking to). When their solution is not riding on a bill, then they have absolutely ridiculous la-la land resolutions like cutting global warming pollution in New Jersey by "getting 70% of its residents to ride their bikes to work." Is this some kind of joke out of a cut segment from the "Miss Universe" pageant? You might as well try to "get" all the Oscar nominees to cut limousine gas emmisions by all arriving to the red carpet in a fleet of Greyhound busses. Better yet, why not regain interest in federal funding for that ol' abandoned NASA project of Teletransportation, whose last days were visualized by that futuristic Bugs Bunny cartoon with the Martian character whose name we can barely remember? Let's pass an initiative to get THAT governmental think-tank up-and-going again. That way, we won't have to drill for oil at all!
Ok, enough is known about the PIRGs to know that they're a joke. The general, sweeping statements they use in their fundraising rhetoric, the absurd "let's pave all the streets with gold" aims that they allegedly stand for, and their absolute invisibility within the political infrastructure (considering how obscenely rich they are). Save for the occasional 3-minute gig on the local news or some letter sent out to a local politician, nobody knows who the hell they are! They are a ghost in the machine. A phantom. And as Nancie Koenigsberg alluded to in her anti-union speech to the L.A. TOP callers shortly before the vote to unionize with the Teamsters, lauding all the glory of The Fund, the PIRGs' goal is not to be well-known or recognized for the "work" they do, but only to choose the campaigns that are gauranteed to "win" and to "go out there" and "win" on the issues. (Translation: We don't care to have our name out there in print, because frankly, we've put no effort into any victory that would warrant such recognition; our role is to simply predict the outcome of likely campaign victories spearheaded by other groups, scare the shit out of people and psychologically browbeat them into giving money to the cause, and then, when said "campaign" is a success, take credit for it...and make even more money!)
Okay, so a farce of a non-profit they are. But going further, they're a sham, and they are not only highly unethical, but they're creeps. Doug Phelps and his management team are a bunch of creeps and thugs. (That must be said no less than twice).
Nothing could illustrate this point more vividly than than the day-to-day hell that the L.A. workers had to endure after the vote to unionize with The Teamsters in July and September of 2005.
As a caller, I was under the duress of their wrath as they tried to squeeze us out one by one. Everyday, we were greeted and treated with smiles by the directors as they were killing our wages. We spent hour after hour on the most miserable lists we had ever known, as our real lists were being outsourced to the Portland and Boston offices. At the same time, an inordinate amount of pledges were suddenly not returned by members, causing our quotas and our salaries to sink like hot lead. As we called on reminder lists, member after member declared to have already sent in their pledges, adding much substance to the theory that our directors were instructed to not credit us for our pledges. On top of this, all of the pro-union staff were all fired in one night for that same singular unprecedented reason (misdispositioning calls, which in all of my three years have never seen), and five of us were left to rot in a cluttered, moldy room for another nine months.
The Fund's approach was to demoralize us completely until we couldn't take anymore. So that they may never have to agree upon a contract with the union. Furious and repeated attempts to contact the Fund's CEOs for a union contract bargaining session were ignored. The Fund's approach was to simply roll over and play dead with the union and to kill the five of the callers still working at the Telephone Outreach Project (not to mention the canvassers on the other side of the office).
It is amazing how many "non-profit" dollars were used to bust the union effort. The Fund was not only willing to lose a tremendous amount of revenue in instituting a hiring freeze in both unionized offices (they lost $200,000 in canvassing money in Winter 2005/06 alone), but they fought the union effort and the NLRB tooth-and-nail with the best lawyers that money could buy. All to ensure that the workers didn't have a say in how they were treated. All to ensure that their workers were put in their proper place, unafforded a decency like a paid sick day or a salary commesurate to how much money they were raking into their fake organization.
Unconscionable union-busting tactics aside, the Fund has conducted itself as a common criminal in regards to upholding state and federal labor laws. For YEARS, they have been stealing money from their workers (by not paying them breaks or not reimbursing them for gas money on business-related trips). In the courtroom, they have pleaded that this was an honest error in office policy. Upon being damned with an official court ruling, they have tried to take payroll deductions out of a claimant's award check. It wasn't enough that they boldly lied in the courtroom under oath (and were caught ONLY because all the claimants thus far have been smart enough to bring a copy of every pertinent document imaginable to represent their cases), but they are compelled to always take it one vile step further and try to scam a claimant the money that they are LEGALLY REQUIRED TO COLLECT.
These people never run out of creep ammunition. Everything from them is a trick, a montage of smoke and mirrors, an exercise in complete bullshit.
Suffering the worst is not the employees (cause let's face it, people have the choice in this life to leave a bad work situation and do better for themselves), but the actual causes that the Fund claims to do work on behalf on. The Environment and Consumer Protection are valuable causes, and the PIRGs are doing nothing to make sure that the legislature is prioritizing those 2 issues. The best day the Fund ever had was the day that George W. Bush was inaugurated into office. It certainly gave them a sweet, profitable "enemy" to monger fear amongst their donor base.
Leave it to the Fund to take something as sacred as the environment and use it to sell membership to people who put their entire activist stake into the Fund. There are alot of people in this country who care about the environment and their only form of activism is to contribute money to the Fund, which is just sad.
Well-meaning people (who may not have the propensity to do activist work, but who sincerely care about the issues) are giving their money to the PIRGs, who have the transparent audacity to send their lobbyists to the houses of the rich and famous to ask for mega-endowments while the state legislature is in session!
This is an insult. And if it isn't illegal, it should be. It's only fitting because the Fund has already been found guilty of so many illegal activities.
They are a criminal outfit, through and through, and if I ever hear the sentence "The PIRGs do good work" ever again, I won't be able to stop myself from audibly releasing a gutteral growl of rage and disgust. I don't care if I'm at a wedding, a funeral, an office meeting, a library, a swear-in ceremony of Great Britain's newest knight or dame, or in the midst of some other gathering where it is innappropriate to disturb with superfluous noise. If I ever hear those words again, my shit will be flipped.
My dear readers, if you disagree with what I say and how I'm saying it, if you are untainted enough to believe the "PIRGs do good work," I dare you to sign on as a monthly member. Go ahead. Let them take out $10/month from your checking account. Then try to cancel it.
Call that 800 number and listen to the phone ring and ring and ring as you try to reach out to a live person for weeks and weeks and weeks.
You'll start to see what I'm talking about.
These people don't care about you. They don't care to make the world a better place. They don't care to play fair.
All Douglass H. Phelps cares about is reaping the profits. He wages a fake war against the Bush glitterati not because what they do is wrong and in the worst interest of society, but because he is jealous of them. Doug is jealous of other millionaires.