Ed Schultz debuted on MSNBC during the 5 p.m. slot on April 6 with a flashy new set. And although the liberal radio host's "The ED Show" is in its infancy, it has one apparent theme - it's very pro-organized labor.
Leo Gerard, president of the United Steelworkers, was even Schultz's first guest. On his second show on April 7, Schultz's opening "OpEd" segment was firmly for the Employee Free Choice Act, also known as card check. And, on his third show on April 8, he invited Mary Beth Maxwell, executive director of the pro-union, pro-card check American Rights at Work organization.
However, there's one detail Schultz hasn't revealed to his audience - a potential conflict of interest. As recently as 2008, Schultz received more than $20,000 from three separate AFL-CIO affiliated labor unions.
According to documents posted on the U.S. Department of Labor Web site, Schultz received $22,304 for his services - a fact picked up by J. Justin Wilson, managing director, Center for Union Facts. Those include:
- Steelworkers - "Publicity/Advertising" - $10,000
- Air Traffic Controllers - "Broadcasting Services" - $7,304
- Plumbers Local 189 - "Event" - $5,000
Schultz's show has been openly pro-union. On April 7, he lobbied for President Barack Obama to sign the Employee Free Choice Act during the "OpEd" segment - a law that has overwhelming support from labor unions.
"Now, President Obama, you know I'm a big fan," Schultz said on his April 7 show. "Hey, I was the first progressive talker to come out in your corner. And you can't get me out of your corner. I'm a big fan. I believe in what you're doing. I think we documented on this program last night how awesome a 77-day run you have had leading this country. Your trip to the G-20 has been absolutely outstanding. But Mr. President, I need you to say to the American people and the wage earners of this country that you will support and you will sign the Employee Free Choice Act if it comes to your desk."