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Ralph Nader > Special Features > How About A Little Corporate Patriotism?

Labor unions are far more inclined to publically express their patriotic commitment to the Pledge of Allegiance than U.S. chartered large corporations.

In a survey by the Center for Study of Responsive Law, twenty of the largest unions and twenty of the largest U.S. Chartered corporations were asked on three separate occasions:

Do you think it desirable to have you and your president at your annual shareholders meetings stand up on the stage and, in the name of your company (not your diverse board of directors), pledge allegiance to our flag that is completed by the ringing phrase “with liberty and justice for all?”

Nine unions replied that they do “pledge allegiance to the flag …with liberty and justice for all” or as a substitute sing the national anthem. These unions are:

1. American Postal Workers
2. Communication Workers of America
3. International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers
4. International Brotherhood of Teamsters
5. National Association of Letter Carriers
6. National Education Association
7. United Automobile Workers
8. United Brotherhood of Carpenters
9. United Steelworkers

The following unions have not responded:

1. American Federation of Government Employees
2. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees
3. American Federation of Teachers
4. International Association of Fire Fighters
5. International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers
6. International Longshore and Warehouse Union
7. Laborers’ International Union of North America
8. Maritime Trades Department
9. Service Employees International
10. United Association
11. United Food and Commercial Workers International

Two of the twenty corporations – Chevron and Walmart – responded with their view of patriotism but declined to respond directly to the question (see attached).

The remaining 18 large companies, despite letters and calls, acknowledged receipt but refused to respond. These companies are:

1. Apple
2. AT&T
3. Bank of America
4. Cardinal Health
5. Citigroup
6. ConocoPhillips
7. CVS Caremark
8. ExxonMobil
9. Fannie Mae
10. Ford Motor
11. General Electric
12. General Motors
13. Hewlett-Packard
14. International Business Machines
15. J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.
16. McKesson
17. Valero Energy
18. Verizon Communications

In a survey conducted in 1996, 34 of the 100 largest chartered corporations responded – all but one explained why they declined to say the Pledge of Allegiance at their annual shareholders meeting. Federated Department Stores was the only company that unequivocally said it would be a good idea to pledge allegiance to the flag. Some of the responding companies may have misconstrued the request as including members of the boards of Directors, who could include foreign nationals. The question then and now could not be clearer; it was to have the CEO stand up and, on behalf of their U.S. chartered corporation (the entity), “pledge allegiance to the flag… with liberty and justice for all.” After all, CEOs want their American companies to be treated as “persons” under our constitution in order to retain and expand their powerful privileges and immunities.

Americans are increasingly questioning why U.S. corporations are less than patriotic when it comes to paying low wages treatment or abandoning U.S. workers to shift jobs and industries to repressive regimes abroad, increasing their corporate welfare dependency on U.S. taxpayers, and their wanting to be rescued from time to time by the U.S. military when in trouble abroad.

The comparative yardsticks of patriotism should be applied frequently and meticulously to the large U.S. corporations that rove the world seeking advantages from other countries, to the detriment of the United States, the country that chartered them into existence and helped insure their success and survival.

Response from Walmart
Response from Chevron
June 2012 Letter to Corporations
June 2012 Letter to Unions
March 2013 Letter to Corporations
June 2013 Letter to Corporations
Chicago Tribune Op-Ed – Why Not Corporate Patriotism for a Change?
Wall Street Journal – Toyota Stays Committed to Output in Japan