Portland City Council Votes to Protect Workers from the Freedom Foundation
October 27, 2017
This week, the Portland City Council stood up for working people by voting unanimously to keep workers’ personal information safe from extremist groups like the Freedom Foundation. We know the Freedom Foundation has targeted workers and a poses a threat to their safety, and we’re happy to see that the Council has made the right decision.
The Freedom Foundation and their allies have an agenda that has nothing to do with the public interest. Their agenda is all about dismantling progressive groups in Oregon in order to support conservative causes and win elections for Republicans. This behavior is a direct violation of their non-partisan, tax-exempt status, and the Northwest Accountability Project has filed complaints with both federal and state authorities calling for a complete investigation.
Our organization has uncovered evidence — through YouTube videos, social media, and mailings — of Freedom Foundation leaders, including CEO Tom McCabe and Oregon State Director Anne Marie Gurney, explicitly stating that their goal is to “defund unions.” This was further backed up by a recent article in the Guardian which exposed leaked documents about the Freedom Foundation’s true mission.
If personal information is released to the Freedom Foundation, there are no requirements to keep the information secure. This puts workers’ identity and personal security at risk.
Furthermore, the Northwest Accountability Project has uncovered evidence that the Freedom Foundation poses a direct safety concern to workers. The Freedom Foundation does not properly vet its staff. Their Washington Field Director, who oversees union member outreach, has a violent criminal record and has joked about bringing a gun with him to the homes of workers. Another staffer for the Freedom Foundation has posted a number of racist, misogynistic, and homophobic comments on social media, and at one point said that all Muslims should be deported.
Workers across the state have reported incidences of Freedom Foundation staff visiting their homes and workplaces unannounced to harass and intimidate them. We have even received reports that the Freedom Foundation lies about who they are (often trying to mimic union organizers), and they have claimed that the union provided them with members’ contact information.
Workers deserve safety from the Freedom Foundation, and the Portland City Council made the right decision this week by vowing to fight for the workers who keep Portland running.
Thank you to all the workers who spoke out to their elected Portland leaders and urged them to make the right call.