Labor Management Committee

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This article is part of the Tobacco portal on Sourcewatch funded from 2006 - 2009 by the American Legacy Foundation.

The Labor Management Committee of the Tobacco Institute was the channel for most of the influence and bribery to union officials over many decades. It had both lobbyists and lawyers who met weekly.

The US tobacco industry was able to garner a lot of support from the industry-related unions who benefited from the harvesting, processing, sale and aftermath of cigarettes. These were members of agricultural organisations and the BC&T (Bakery Confectionary & Tobacco Workers Int'l Union). Later this support included the makers and maintainers of Heating, Ventilation and Air-Conditioning equipment (HVAC), and the sheet-metal workers, and ducting installers.

These unions were protecting the economic interests of their members by helping to block moves which might result in lower smoking rates. So an interest in these threatened changes is to be expected (if not excused).

However the Tobacco Institute was also able to bribe executives in the overall union/workers political hierarchies -- such as the AFL-CIO and other labor organisations. They maintained support from specialised labor organisations, such as the A. Philip Randolph Institute through generous annual 'donations' and through specific payments for work done by individuals in contacting Congressmen, writing letters to the editor, op-eds, etc.

The sub-section of the US Tobacco Institute (TI) which promoted and controlled these activities was the Labor Management Committee which was commonly referred to in the 14 million searchable tobacco industry documents (held at the San Francisco Library) as the LMC. The main involvement of the LMC appear to have extended from late 1984 to 2000, and in the early years it was under the control of Ogilvy & Mather PR who reported to Sam Chilcote at the US Tobacco Institute.

Key Staff and members of LMC

  • Peter Sparber head of the Public Relations division of TI (later an independent contractor to TI) made a speech in April 1988 explaining the TI's close relationship with the union movement. This was a report on the Tobacco Institute's "Issues Management" activities:

Today, the Institute works closely, not only with the BC&T (Bakery Confectionary & Tobacco workers union), but with a host of AFL-CIO union on critical legislative initiatives. The relationship has developed to the point where the Institute is one of the only outside groups welcome at the AFL-CIO Executive Council meetings. I can go to these meetings and get business accomplished for the industry and the Institute.

To build this coalition and design a strategy for the (Labor Management) Committee, we turned to cadre of outside labor consultants. We recognized that the Institute lacked the internal labor expertise necessary to move forward on this project.
(The cadre was contracted through Ogilvy & Mather)

He then goes on to list the key members of the LMC in 1988:

  • James (Jim) Savarese: (Lobbyist - then with Ogilvy & Mather, later an independent contractor via Savarese & Associates.) Jim has 10 years of experience with the public employee union AFSCME, first as Director of Public Policy and then as Executive Assistant to the President.
  • John Jarvis: (lobbyist/unionist) John is President of The Jarvis Company; a Washington based lobbying firm. He was previously Legislative Director of the United Mine Workers for 6 years.
  • Mike Forscey: (lawyer) Mike served as associate general counsel to the Machinists, then as general counsel to the Senate Labor Committee under Senator Kennedy.
  • Leslie Dawson; (political lobbyist) Leslie has 10 years of legislative and political experience in Texas and Washington. She most recently worked as Labor Liaison for Congress Charles Wilson of Texas. (Assistant to James Savarese)
  • Richard Marcus: (Lawyer) Richard is an attorney with legislative experience in both the U.S. House and Senate.
  • Tom Donahue: (political aide) Tom has served as a staff assistant to Senator Kennedy as well an assistant to the International President of the Bricklayers Union. Tom is also the son of AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Thomas R. Donahue. (Note name confusion)
  • Harry Kaiser: (political aide) Harry served as Press Secretary and Special Assistant to the Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur of Ohio for six years. Prior to that, he was a staff assistant at the Food and Allied Service Trades Department, AFL-CIO.
  • Wesley Lane: (labor lobbyist) Wes has recently been hired as a labor lobbyist in Minnesota. He is with the Teamsters Union and serves as Director of the DRIVE (the Teamsters PAC).

Through generous annual donations and specific payments for lobbying via the Labor Management Committee, the Tobacco Institute also bought the assistance of:

More specifically, directly related to their interests in air-conditioning the TI also funded the:

    NEMI is been virtually the industry's sole weapon in trying to overturn the Beverly Hills (restaurant) smoking plan. The Institute has provided major funding for NEMI (in training) and travel for promotion of NEMI as a resource.
    They also have new alliances with:

    The were also working on the Flight Attendants' Union in an attempt to beat the airline smoking bans. [2]

    Also mentioned in these many documents were a number of other union-related organisations who were regularly paid to provide lobbying services to the tobacco industry:

    Documents & Timeline

    1984 Sep 6 Patricia Milita the main organiser at Ogilvy & Mather has in her monthly report to Peter Sparber at the Tobacco Institute a series of activities in August:
    • Arranged and attended a meeting with Steve Schlossberg, from the law firm of Zwerdling, Schlossberg, Leibig, and Kahn. Steve is examining the workplace issue vis a vis labor.
    • Arranged and participated in a meeting with Bob McIntyre, the legislative director for CTJ. Shortly after that meeting,

    we prepared a memo (8/9/84) on several issues of concern to CTJ in California and Oregon.

    • Arranged and participated in a meeting with Jim Gallagher of SEIU, Dean Tipps of CTJ, and Hurst Marshall (TI) to discuss the Institute's assistance with Measure 2 in Oregon. As you know, I spoke with Alex King yesterday, who is anxious to proceed. We are coordinating that effort.
    SEIU was the Service Employees International Union headed by tobacco lobbyist Edward Carlough.
    Alex King was a Regional Director for the TI who ran the Oregon lobby trying to block legislation establishing smoking and non-smoking areas in restaurants, and other public spaces.
    • Participated in the first meeting of the Tobacco Industry Labor Management Committee and prepared the minutes.
    • Began the labor advertising program, which included : preparing a project plan; selecting a photograph; making final ad copy revisions;preparing the media plan ; and coordinating the program.

    We are shooting at the Phillip Morris plant in Richmond this week.[3]

    1989 Apr 24 A Tobacco Institute document Scientific/Other Witness Appearance Requirements lists all the members of the TI's Scientific Witness Team (SWT) and the dates they will be required in various states. It also includes some explanatory materials about other TI resources available to the State or Regional Directors.

    5. LABOR BRIEFINGS. The Tobacco industry Labor Management Committee is able to provide labor consultants (Tom Donahue and Harry Kaiser, who work with LMC executive director Jim Savarese) and other experts to brief labor audiences on the issue of indoor air quality (IAQ). Indeed, a key function of our state labor counsels is to identify such labor briefing opportunities and to arrange time for our experts to brief the labor groups on IAQ.

    Those of you who work with state labor counsels should identify such opportunities and notify WW/Diana about the sites in question. Then, we can work together with Donahue and Kaiser (and Kay Thomas in PAD) to arrange the briefings. It should also be noted that we can also arrange to brief labor groups in regions without labor counsel...again, work through WW/Diana to set up such briefings, noting that they take several days or longer, usually, to arrange. [4]

    1991 June 6 Keith Tarr-Whelan of Ogilvy & Mather was interviewed by Richard Kluger (Wall Street Journal) for a book being written on the tobacco industry and with their tentative agreement to cooperate. He was not to be quoted or have anything attributed to him without his OK. (Kluger's notes are distributed throughout the archive). Tarr-Whelan spoke of numerous things as (a now) outside O&M observer: (Highly truncated)
    • Philip Morris was the most aggressive company - far more than Tobacco Institute or the other companies
    • PM wouldn't accept Jesse Helms as a spokesperson (other companies would)
    • KTW worked with Peter Sparber to "get into the liberal community & buy its silence"
    • PM was the only one of the companies known as a "strong union employer" (fully unionized). PM was based in Democratic New York. And the industry needed the unions to get access to the Democratic power base.
    • O&M helped establish the Labor Management Committee, with the tobacco workers unions taking the lead.
    • There was always friction between PM and RJ Reynolds over unions, politics, and overall management philosophy. PM believed that the industry was so profitable it could afford to pay unionists well. This created friction with the Old South companies.
    • There was an envy relationship between the Tobacco Institute and PM. PM was more sophisticated than both the other companies and TI (However the Tobacco Institute was very pragmatic). The TI would need to go to PM and ask for contacts with minority groups, or to identify witnesses, etc. PM was much more open-minded and willing to take risks.
    • The Labor Management Committee was in a grey-area of law; the Taft-Hartley Act made it illegal for an employer to give or take money from a union. The LMC was aimed at circumventing that law. The companies put in a sizeable amount of the funds and the unions put in only token amounts.
    • They operated through and with third-party labor organizations through points of common interest. The LMC kitty was used to funnel money and in-kind services to the tobacco industry's union supporters.
    • The Tobacco Institute made a point of using every PR shop in town so that they all had a piece of the action. (This was a basic strategy.)
    • Jim Savarese: was "pleased by multiplicity of tobacco industry problems: "The more problems, the more money for us -- and the less we have to convince them" of the need to use O&M.
    • Peter Sparber: was "enormously intense"; "It got to him all the time" and eventually he cut himself a deal as a consultant and left. He was "one of the most manipulative people I've ever met in my life."
    • Susan Stuntz: Sparber's successor was "a master at determining the point of vulnerability."
    • Fred Panzer: Had been an aide in the Johnson Administration White House. He sold himself to the Tobacco Institute as a key Democratic contact and held an "incredibly lucrative job as the house Democrat." He got into big trouble during the Cippolone trail over a memo he wrote.
    • Scott Stapf: young fellow bought in and trained as spokesperson.
    • And on Keith Tarr-Whelan himself, Kluger confirms what he had heard about his (KTW's) fate. He had succumbing to a cocaine habit and padded his expense account to cover cost of sustaining it." The money available was extraordinary. KTW and Sparber would attend the annual AFL-CIO convention, and in one evening, he spent $2,800 in entertainment [A total of $8,400 over 3-4 days]... just for making connections. The Tobacco Institute expected him to spend more. [The year before he had spent $11,000]


    Richard Kluger was an author who was given access to these people to conduct interviews for his book "Ashes to Ashes". A condition was that he turn over to the Tobacco Institute for culling, a transcript of all interviews. We now have them available on-line and they are often candid since the interviewee was probably promised anomnity for many critical statements.

    1993 Susan Stuntz at the Tobacco institute has allocated budget figures for the Scientific Affairs section of the Public Affairs Division of the Tobacco Institute. She allows:

    • Professional Fees.
    • $450,000 for ventilation consultant fees and expenses
    • $150,000 for literature reviews and critiques
    • $100,000 for participation in scientific conferences
    • $ 25,000 for air quality testing by ENV Services
    • $850,000 for OSHA Submissions/Presentations
    • $1.03 million general EPA Activities
    • $250,000 Completion and promotion of Barry Lieberman/Uni of Pittsburgh project (to detect bias in ETS scientific research) -- scientific publications, media tours, conferences, presentations. etc.
    • Coalition PR counsel
    • Economic Consultants (op-eds, book tours, etc. $100,000
    • Labor Management Committee
    • General -- $290,000
    • Sparber & Associates fees $145,000
    • Grants to Fire service organisations $175.000
    • Labor Management Committee counsel
    • The Strategy Group - $300,000
    • Ogilvy Adams & Rinehart - $225,000
    • James Savarese & Assoc - $175,000
    • The Jarvis Company - $140,000,
    • Misc APRI, CLUW, LCLAA - $250,000
    • NEMI -- $1 million
    • Safe Workplace Air Coalition seminars - $50,000
    • BCIA -- $128,000 [6]
    [CART=Coalition Against Regressive Taxation (run by National Chambers Foundation + trucking union]
    [Tri-Data was run by Philip Schaenman. It acted as a confidential liaison between industries/governments and fire departments]
    [The Strategy Group was run by David Wilhelm who also ran Citizens for Tax Justice (CTJ) and was Chairman of the Democratic National Committee.]
    [The Jarvis Group (aka McGlotten & Jarvis) was a special union-oriented PR organisation run by John Jarvis)
    [APRI=A Philip Randolph Institute: CLUW=Coalition of Labor Union Women: LCLAA=Labor Council for Latin American Advancement]
    [NEMI=National Energy Management Institute. BCIA=Business Council on Indoor Air - both tobacco fronts]

    1993 Oct 14 Susan Stuntz reports to Sam Chilcote re the Tobacco Industry's Labor Management Committee. She provides a long list of anecdotal references to supposed lobbying successes (with union help) in the past year. [See doc.] She is fighting to retain her empire.
    • State Activities: Washington State, California, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota. (See)
    • Federal Activities:
      DNC Chairman David Wilhelm "took the gloves off' against special interest groups including the National Rifle Association, the health insurance industry and Citizens for a Sound Economy ... the tobacco industry was notable for its absence.
    She also reported on the various function of consultants:
  • The Strategy Group has primary responsibility for coordinating the work of all of the state fair tax groups, developing the studies that specifically address cigarette tax issues and working with these groups on promotion.
  • Ogilvy Adams & Rinehart provides all of the general public relations support to the national fair tax and IAQ groups, promotes allies' work and ensures prompt delivery of these same materials to the state consultants so they are available for their use.
  • Savarese & Associates , (James Savarese) as executive director of the LMC, is chiefly responsible for keeping the unions in the LMC and The Institute informed of activity and ensuring consensus. He also is responsible for Citizens for Tax Justice and Economic Policy Institute activities and is the principal individual who reaches out to public employee unions in the states and localities.
  • The Jarvis Company acts as lobbyist for the LMC - both on Capitol Hill and within the AFL-CIO.
  • Bill Holayter , in the west; and Harry Kaiser in the midwest act as regional coordinators to make sure that the LMC consultants in those regions are acting in accordance with LMC guidelines and policy. They also ensure prompt delivery of resources from Washington. Finally, since both have close ties to Washington, D.C., both also have responsibility for outreach to specific international unions and to key Members of Congress. [7]

1993 Oct-Dec Towards the end of this year there was a reorganisation of the Tobacco Institute where the overall TI budget was proposed to be cut by 61%, from $38.925m down to $15 million

  • 38 staff positions were to be eliminated.
  • 34 staff were to be fired (15 professional and 19 support staff) -- $2m in termination costs.
  • Close all field offices -- terminate 5 Regional VPs
  • Freeze all salary reviews
  • Eliminate the Public Affairs and Federal Relations divisions and merge the remaining staff into Issues Management.

Support for the Labor Management Committee organisers was cut:

  • The Strategy Group (LMC tax issues, development of an support to tax conferences, state tax coalitions, development of fair tax materials and studies) -- was cut from $300-425,000 down to $10,000.
  • Ogilvy Adams & Rinehard (PR consultants to LMC) was cut from $280-300,000 to zero.
  • James Savarese & Associates: (LMC executive director, coordinator of all state and federal LMC activities, liason with LMC unions) was cut from $200,000 to $100,000.
  • The Jarvis Company (legislative liason with AFL-CIO legislative division and LMC member unions) was cut from $120-125,000 to $30,000.
  • Bill Holayter (for Western and Federal LMC activities) was cut from $70,000 to $20,000. [8]

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