Transparency Hypocrisy

The Freedom Foundation makes a lot of claims about supporting government transparency, but the truth tells a different story. The Freedom Foundation’s standard for supporting so-called “transparency” seems to be based on whether it will benefit their wealthy out-of-state donors at the expense of working families in the Northwest.

What the Freedom Foundation is hiding

For a couple of years now, Freedom Foundation lobbyists have been passing around a cookie-cutter resolution that called for contract negotiations between workers and management to be open to the public, even though the public already gets input in the contract negotiation process. This resolution was similar in nature to resolutions circulated by national, corporate-funded organizations like the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

For those of us who know the Freedom Foundation, their platitudes on transparency were clearly a farce. At no time did they call for transparency in contracts with corporations or management staff not represented by a union.

Additionally, when the Washington state legislature recently considered a bill that would ensure the public knew the funders of any pro-bono legal services to their cities or counties, the Freedom Foundation fought tooth and nail against it. The extremist organization and its allies went as far as to argue that the proposed bill was part of a union revenge plot and conspiracy, yet they conveniently failed to acknowledge that the proposal applied to both conservative and progressive groups alike.

Their advocacy against the bill was entirely selfish because the bill would have impacted the Freedom Foundation and they are scared to death of living up to their own calls for transparency.

It’s simple

The Freedom Foundation does not actually care about transparency. They care about attacking working people on behalf of their wealthy donors. And because of hypocrisy like this, they have lost their credibility amongst legislators when it comes to matters of public policy.

If the Freedom Foundation actually cared about transparency, they would disclose their donors when their lawyers represent a city or county government but most importantly, they would propose policies that are fair to everyone, not solely focused on attacking working families.

Tell New Seasons: Cut your financial ties with the Murdock Trust

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The Northwest Accountability Project and community partners are calling on New Seasons Market to cut its ties to the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, a foundation that has given millions of dollars to extremist causes that harm LGBTQ people, women, and workers.

The Portland-based grocery chain is majority-owned by private equity investors through funds managed by Endeavour Capital. The Murdock Trust has invested millions in those Endeavour Capital funds, including funds that recently owned a 69 percent interest in New Seasons.

New Seasons’ profits further enrich the Murdock Trust as they fund groups including:

  • The Alliance Defending Freedom, the anti-LGBTQ hate group that backed North Carolina’s anti-transgender “bathroom bill.”
  • The Portland Fellowship, the only organization in Oregon to offer gay conversion therapy, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. The Fellowship claims that same-sex attraction “stems from relational wounds and dysfunction.”
  • The Freedom Foundation, an extremist organization that has launched an all-out assault on working families in Oregon and Washington state. The Freedom Foundation is also funded by out-of-state billionaires who want to keep wages low, eliminate paid sick leave, and slash crucial funding for quality education.
  • Several anti-choice “crisis pregnancy centers” throughout the Northwest. Crisis pregnancy centers are known to masquerade as licensed medical facilities and lie to pregnant people in order to dissuade them from having abortions.

We’re urging New Seasons to stop actively undermining our Northwest values of mutual respect and inclusiveness.

Meet Tom McCabe: The reckless, unethical, and failing leader of the Freedom Foundation

Tom Mccabe

Tom McCabe, the CEO of the extremist Freedom Foundation

When conservative ideologue Tom McCabe took the reins at the Freedom Foundation as CEO in 2013, he made his goal crystal clear: to utterly dismantle the power of working people in Washington and Oregon.

McCabe and the Freedom Foundation believe that if they take organized labor out of the picture, they can work with their right-wing allies to elect regressive, Republican candidates and push an extreme conservative agenda in the Pacific Northwest. McCabe’s vision has been made clear in a number of YouTube videos, fundraising documents, and on the Freedom Foundation’s own website.

Over the last four years, McCabe has spent countless resources — including staff hours and donors’ money — in a blatant effort to harass workers and coerce them to opt out of their union. He’s directed Freedom Foundation staff to aggressively obtain the names, home addresses, and other personal information of working people in order to contact them via mailings, social media, phone calls, and through door-to-door canvasses. Union members all across Oregon and Washington have reported incidences of Freedom Foundation staff visiting their workplaces unannounced, and even coming right to the doorsteps of their homes to harass and intimidate them. We even received reports that the Freedom Foundation lies about who they are (claiming they are union organizers) and that they’ve claimed that the union provided them with members’ contact information. These are all lies.

Despite McCabe’s rhetoric and outright disregard for the law and the privacy of workers, his efforts have been a complete failure. Union members have embraced their unions. And they’ve come together in an effort to protect themselves and their coworkers from the Freedom Foundation’s lies and efforts to badger them at work and at their homes.List of Tom McCabe's failures

A long line of failures

The failure of the Freedom Foundation’s “opt-out” campaign is yet another in a long line of their failures. To this date, they have not passed any significant legislation in either Oregon or Washington. Their local attempts at passing “right to work” laws have all failed, and Oregon, Washington, and California are all dominated by Democrats passing some of the most progressive pro-worker policies in the country. This includes historic minimum wage increases and paid sick leave… issues the Freedom Foundation vehemently opposes.

McCabe’s bigoted and dangerous staff

McCabe has stopped at nothing to try and salvage his right-wing, regressive vision for the Freedom Foundation. This includes putting worker’s safety at risk by sending poorly vetted staff members to interact with union members and their families. The Freedom Foundations’ Washington Field Director Matthew Hayward — who oversees union member outreach — has a violent criminal record. Hayward has even joked about bringing a gun with him to the homes of workers.

McCabe has also surrounded himself with staff who have made disturbing and derogatory statements about women, communities of color, and the LGBTQ community. One former staff member wrote on a personal blog, “We all know there were good slave owners and bad slave owners just like there are good dog owners and bad dog owners.” One staff member even called for the deportation of all Muslims.

A waste of donor dollars

But even after all of these efforts and all their money spent, McCabe’s campaigns have been futile. In fact, union membership is at record levels along the West Coast in recent years. This is particularly true of AFSCME, SEIU, and the educators unions, the unions the Freedom Foundation has tried to attack. Additionally, a recent Gallup poll showed that support for unions is at a 14-year high.

In addition to wasting donor money on harassment campaigns, McCabe admitted that the Freedom Foundation has spent millions of their donors’ money on legal defense because of their scurrilous activities. This is no surprise, considering McCabe’s history of racking up legal bills and wasting donor funds. When he was head of the Building Industry Association of Washington (BIAW), McCabe got into hot water with members — predominantly builders and contractors — by spending millions on failed conservative candidates and causes, moving the organization to the extreme right and violating state campaign finance laws.

McCabe will fail again

Unfortunately, this time, McCabe’s unethical and nefarious tactics have jeopardized the privacy of workers and have subjected them to harassment. We have every confidence that McCabe will continue to fail and put the Freedom Foundation out of business.

Until then, we will continue to protect workers and will always be their advocate. And we will continue to shine a light on extremism by the Freedom Foundation and their right-wing ilk. No one deserves this kind of treatment from a bully like Tom McCabe.

Portland City Council Votes to Protect Workers from the Freedom Foundation

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.

The Freedom Foundation is After Workers’ Personal Information Once Again

Working families in Oregon are under attack.

An organization known as the Freedom Foundation is posing as a non-partisan “think tank,” and trying to acquire the personal information of Portland city employees without their permission. This group, fueled by major right-wing foundations with ties to the Koch brothers and out-of-state conservative billionaires, has a purely political agenda.

This Wednesday, we are urging the City of Portland to protect its workers privacy and personal information from the Freedom Foundation’s politically motivated attacks. Workers deserve to be protected from harassment.

The Freedom Foundation is part of the Koch-funded State Policy Network, a national network of far right organizations. A recent article in the Guardian detailed the political agenda of the Freedom Foundation to “defund and defang” unions so they can implement a far-right agenda.

What you can do: Send a message to your council member to tell them the Freedom Foundation does not work in the public interest.

Having your personal information in the hands of the Freedom Foundation makes you a target of harassment and could subject union families to identity theft. This risk should be taken seriously.

Reports have come that Freedom Foundation staff have visited union members’ homes and workplaces unannounced. We have even received reports that the Freedom Foundation has lied about who they are and have claimed that their own union provided them with members’ information.

The Freedom Foundation has aligned themselves with far-right, anti-immigrant, and anti-LGBTQ groups and should not be allowed access to the personal contact information of workers. Moreover, their extensive track record of failing to keep personal information safe and harassing families across the region shows their general contempt for hardworking people.

Oregon workers deserve to know that when they are home with their families or working hard on the clock, they are safe from political attacks.

We are confident that the City Council will put an end to the Freedom Foundation and their blatant attacks on workers. Until then, if the Freedom Foundation contacts you, know your rights and how to protect yourself against this extreme organization.

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