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U.S. Chamber Report Shows Union Front Groups Receiving Millions from Activist Foundations

Wednesday, November 20, 2013 - 7:00pm

Foundations provide groups with over $57 million from 2009 to 2012

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Workforce Freedom Initiative (WFI) today released a study exposing financial and organizational ties between activist foundations and many of the union front groups at the forefront of various recent protests against employers. The study, The Emerging Role of Worker Centers in Union Organizing: A Strategic Assessment, shows that from 2009-2012 alone, such foundations provided those union front organizations, also called worker centers, with over $57 million in support.

“Contrary to their public façade, union front groups are well-financed, highly-sophisticated labor organizations,” said Glenn Spencer, vice president of WFI. “When you pull back the curtain, one finds a river of financial support flowing to these groups from activist foundations.”

The study, completed for the U.S. Chamber by Jarol B. Manheim, Professor Emeritus of Media and Public Affairs at The George Washington University, exposes how an extensive web of foundation support fuels prominent union front organizations. For example, the Kellogg Foundation channeled over $1.2 million to the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, the Open Society Institute gave the National Domestic Workers Alliance $695,000, and the Rockefeller Foundation gave Restaurant Opportunities Center United $300,000. 

The study also examines how many union front groups receive taxpayer-funded support from the federal government. For example, the group Restaurant Opportunities Center of New York received grants totaling more than $940,000 from the Department of Health and Human Services over four years. 

Additionally, the study outlines the direct ties from many labor unions to such groups, including OUR Walmart, which is listed as a “subsidiary” on federal disclosure forms by the United Food and Commercial Workers. 

“While few workers seem interested in the various ‘strikes’ and protests put on by union front groups, this report shows that there is great interest in making it appear that way,” added Spencer.

To read the full study, visit www.workforcefreedom.com.

The Workforce Freedom Initiative is a grassroots mobilization and advocacy campaign to preserve democracy in the American workplace, restrain abusive union pension fund activism, and block the anti-competitive agenda advocated by many labor unions.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.