The Employment Policies Institute was founded by Richard Berman. Taskiss this guys worse than your climate change guys and that's really saying something!
"Richard Berman is a Washington-based lobbyist. Through his public affairs firm Berman and Company, Berman runs several industry-funded non-profit organizations such as the Center for Consumer Freedom and the Center for Union Facts. Berman's companies have run numerous media campaigns downplaying the dangers of obesity, smoking, mad cow disease, drunk driving, the minimum wage and other issues.
60 Minutes has called him "the booze and food industries' weapon of mass destruction," and his nickname (from both friends and enemies) is "Dr. Evil", an alias in which he takes pride."
In the mid-1990s, Berman was funded by tobacco giant Phillip Morris to fight the movement to add non-smoking sections in restaurants.
In the 1990s, Berman was the president of Beverage Retailers Against Drunk Driving (BRADD), an organization formed to combat Mothers Against Drunk Driving. As president, he argued for "tolerance of social drinking." He has also worked as a consultant for the Minimum Wage Coalition to Save Jobs. In 1991, he created the Employment Policies Institute to argue "the importance of minimum wage jobs for the poor and uneducated."
Organizations controlled by Berman include:
The Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF), originally named the Guest Choice Network (GCN). CCF serves as an adovocate for restaurants, meat, dairy, food processors, and alcohol. The group was formed in 1995 with funding from tobacco giant Phillip Morris. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Union of Concerned Scientists, Center for Science in the Public Interest, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals have been challenged by CCF. In late 2006, the company initiated a campaign to downplay the level of mercury in fish; their website encourages pregnant women to eat more fish (which the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have recommended against for years), and calls findings that don't support their claims "scare tactics."
The American Beverage Institute (ABI), which fights against increasingly laws designed to criminalize alcohol consumption, including the push to further raise existing blood-alcohol arrest thresholds.
The Employment Policies Institute (EPI), which is opposed to raising the minimum wage, particularly in the labor-intensive restaurant industry. It points to academic studies alleging that increases in the minimum wage lead to job losses, particularly among the poor and uneducated. During an interview on the Rachel Maddow show Berman claimed the minimum wage was $50,000 per year, a blatant lie as the maximum possible yearly pay (using Washington state's $8.55/hour) for a standard 40 hour workweek is $17,784 *before* taxes.
Though Berman and Company do not publicly name their clients, several of their identities have been outed to the press over the years. Among the parties named have been The Coca-Cola Company, Tyson Foods, Outback Steakhouse, Wendy's International, Inc., Brinker International (parent company of Chili's and Macaroni Grill), Arby's, Hooters, and Red Lobster.