Oregon AFSCME members have begun to be contacted by the Freedom Foundation. Their goal? Using misleading information to get union members to undermine their own ability to protect their pay, pensions, benefits and working conditions.
For years, the Freedom Foundation has pushed an anti-labor agenda in Washington state and now, they have their sights set on Oregon. We have the power to stop this assault on our collective voice but to do so we must understand what we’re up against.
The Freedom Foundation is a group dedicated to undermining the strength of labor unions, especially public employee unions. In fact, the Freedom Foundation recently joined a coalition in Oregon that is working to cut the “retirement, disability and health insurance fund” of Public Workers. As a part of the Koch brother’s State Policy Network and the secretive Donors Trust and Donors Capital Fund, they receive hundreds of thousands of dollars each year to promote a pro-corporate, anti-worker agenda. They have opposed wage increases for Washington’s public sector workers, believe in the elimination of paid sick leave, and have even argued against increased education funding.
In Oregon, the Freedom Foundation is one of the forces behind recent attempts to cut PERS benefits and at least five local initiatives aimed at undermining the rights of workers to organize for better pay, benefits and safer working conditions. Their ultimate goal is to silence the voices of workers on behalf of corporate interests. If we stand together, however, we can stave off these extremist attacks on working families.
Their first tactic in destroying workers’ ability to stand up for themselves is to silence their political voice by asking members to stop contributing to the union’s political efforts. That voice is absolutely essential to protecting pay, benefits, pensions and working conditions. Once they have accomplished taking away workers hard-fought pay and benefits, the Freedom Foundation can go after the very existence of your union.
The Freedom Foundation has been aggressively using the public records laws in order to get information that it can use to invade the privacy of workers. We are working hard to block their efforts but we think that they will ultimately be able to find the home addresses of our members through internet searches. Once they have that information, they will use it to mail and visit workers at home to harass, intimidate, and attempt to trick them into giving up their union rights and status.
If you receive mail or are otherwise contacted by the “Freedom” Foundation”, please let us know by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.