The Koch Brothers’ Agenda in Oregon
June 11, 2018
Privatizing public services, cutting corporate taxes and slashing wages and benefits for workers
Anti-worker and Corporate Donors are using a collection of front groups to try and destroy unions in our state. Get the facts about who they are and their true agenda.
WHO ARE THEY? These organizations market themselves as “think tanks” and operate under several names such as: “The Freedom Foundation,” “Opt Out Today” and “Oregon Ponzi Scheme.” The Freedom Foundation/Opt Out Today are trying to launch aggressive campaigns in at least five states, including Oregon. Most recently they were in Oklahoma lobbying lawmakers against supporting the teacher strikes.
WHAT’S THEIR AGENDA?
- Reduce or cut public services, such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security
- Privatize public services
- Cut public employees pensions and health care so that they can cut corporate taxes
Opt Out/Freedom Foundation’s ultimate goal is to privatize public services and eliminate public sector jobs. They believe that if they can reduce public sector union membership, they will reduce a powerful voice for public services and cut corporate taxes. In other states, where unions are weaker than Oregon, there are private prisons, outsourced highway services, and unqualified contractors doing the work of public employees.
They were also part of the coalition that tried to slash public employee PERS benefits by more than 40% in 2017.
WHO FUNDS THEM? These groups receive millions from corporate donors including the Koch Brothers. These donors have advocated against raising wages, funding for education, cutting Medicare and Medicaid and want to silence the voice of working families – all in an effort to make themselves richer.
Documents were recently obtained by the Guardian which shows the Freedom Foundation/OptOut Today is part of a national network of radical “think tanks,” who are trying to launch sophisticated campaigns to mislead public sector workers into dropping union membership and reduce their ability to stand up against privatization and cuts to pensions and healthcare benefits. In Oregon, public employees have already received the “Opt Out” mailer revealed in the investigation.
THEIR LEADERS HAVE PUBLICLY BASHED WORKERS. The Freedom Foundation says state employees are overpaid and don’t work enough. A top Freedom Foundation staffer recently wrote a column in the Bend Bulletin claiming taxpayers are footing the bill for “public employees’ handsome salaries and lavish benefits.” The truth? The Freedom Foundation has no idea what it means to work in public service. They have no idea how committed and hardworking union members in our state work every day. And when firefighters, teachers, and other public workers tried to call him out on his anti-worker views, here’s how a lead Freedom Foundation staffer responded:
THESE GROUPS WANT TO SILENCE THE VOICES OF WORKING FAMILIES. The Freedom Foundation’s Tom McCabe has said that public sector unions should not have the right to collectively bargain for better pay, benefits and working conditions. These groups want to destroy unions and are seeking to divide and weaken unions in an effort to enrich their wealthy donors.
ARE YOU A UNION MEMBER?
Stand up to those who would cut your pay and benefits and privatize your job. So far Opt Out/Freedom Foundation have failed and people are standing together in their unions. But they have deep pockets. If the Freedom Foundation gets its way, all workers will suffer because unions won’t have the ability to negotiate for better pay, benefits, and working conditions for everyone.
Tell the Freedom Foundation that Oregonians don’t buy their lies: we know that the Freedom Foundation does not represent Oregon’s workers or values.