First Community Letter
September 14, 2012
Robert J. Hugin
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
86 Morris Avenue
Summit, NJ 07901
Dear Mr. Robert J. Hugin,
We are leaders of New Jersey community groups concerned with Celgene’s membership in the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). As you know, ALEC creates model legislation through a process where corporations and legislators have equal say.
Recently Common Cause has requested that New Jersey Attorney General Jeffery Chiesa investigate ALEC for tax fraud, saying this process allows corporations, like Celgene, to lobby state legislators and illegally write off their expenses as charitable contributions. Regardless of the disposition of this matter, we believe Celgene has actively supported a secretive political agenda that is detrimental to our communities.
On your website, Celgene promises “to ensure that patients who can benefit from [your] discoveries have the opportunity to do so.” We believe that your membership in ALEC is antithetical to your commitment to improving the lives of patients worldwide. The following ALEC policy priorities form the basis of our concern:
· ALEC legislation would defund public healthcare services for those who need it most.
· ALEC legislation makes it harder for students, minorities, and the poor to vote.
· ALEC legislation promotes disinvestment from public services on which the neediest rely.
· ALEC legislation advocates for the privatization of public services including schools and Medicare.
· ALEC legislation opposes efforts to require pay equity or paycheck fairness between men and women.
· ALEC legislation urges states to withdraw from regional initiatives designed to address climate change.
· ALEC legislation undermines support for cleaner energy development.
· ALEC legislation undermines workers’ standard of living by banning living wage ordinances and opposing increases in the minimum wage.
· ALEC legislation denies workers a real voice on the job.
· ALEC legislation promotes “Stand Your Ground” laws, much like Florida’s.
· ALEC legislation prohibits local city or county governments from enacting firearm regulations designed to protect public safety.
Already over 30 national corporations have renounced their ALEC membership, including New Jersey’s own Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Express Scripts/Medco and Reckitt Benckiser Group. We understand that many of these policies don’t speak directly to your company’s interest in ALEC. Nonetheless, we believe your continued membership in and financial support of ALEC serves to legitimize and embolden the group’s practices and agenda.
We, the undersigned, representing our respective organizations, call on you to immediately end your membership in ALEC and issue a public statement making it clear that your company does not support its agenda.
Please send your response to Ann Twomey, President of the Health Professionals and Allied Employees, 110 Kinderkamack Rd., Emerson, NJ, 07630 (firstname.lastname@example.org). Your response will be shared with those listed below.
Ann Twomey, President, Health Professionals and Allied Employees
Carol E. Gay, President, New Jersey State Industrial Union Council
Lawrence Hamm, Chair, People’s Organization for Progress
Charles Wowkanech, President, New Jersey State AFL-CIO
Rick Engler, Director, New Jersey Work Environment Council
Phyllis Salowe-Kaye, Executive Director,New Jersey Citizen Action
Donna Chiarra, President, American Federation of Teacher – NJ
John Shinn, Director, District 4, United Steel Workers
Marien Casillas-Pabellon, Executive Director, New Labor
Hettie Rosenstein, NJ Director, Communication Workers of America NJ
David Weiner, President, Communication Workers of America Local 1081
Susan M. Cleary, President, District 1199J, NUHHCE, AFSCME
Millie Silva, Ex Vice President, SEIU 1199 United Healthcare Workers East
Lucye Millerand, President, Union of Rutgers Administrators
Madelyn Hoffman, Director, NJ Peace Action
Trina Scordo, Executive Director, NJ Communities United
Dottie Ji, Central Jersey Coalition against Endless War
Manijeh Saba, Big Pharma Central Jersey
Roger Suarez, Unemployed Crisis Action Network
Jeff Tittel, Director, NJ Sierra Club
Franceline Ehret, President, International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers Local 194
Jim Walsh, Eastern Region Director Food and Water Watch
Adrienne Eaton, President, Rutgers American Association of University Professors – AFT
Craig Hirshberg, Executive Director, Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry of New Jersey
Doc Doherty, President, Teamsters Local 877
Anna Sutton, President of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists Central/Northern New Jersey Chapter
Nicola Bocour, Executive Director
David Ho, President, NJ Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance
Jerry Owens, President, Essex County Chapter
A. Phillip Randolph Institute
Milton Rosado, President
National Labor Council for Latin American Advancement
Magda Valez, Chapter President
New Jersey Labor Council for Latin American Advancement Chapter
Jean Pierce, Chapter President, New Jersey Coalition of Labor Union Women
William Colón, Executive Director, The Latino Institute, Inc.
Mary Ellen Marino, President, New Jersey Progressive Democratic Caucus
Joanne O’Neil, State Coordinator, Progressive Democrats of NJ
Noel Christmas, President, Utility Workers of America Local 601
Frank Argote-Freyre, President, Latino Action Network
Save Our Schools NJ
Our Children, Our Schools
Senior Director, State Government Relations
133 E. Garfield Ave.
Milwaukee, WI 53212