Weekly Update: The Facts

The Facts about the “Freedom Foundation”

The Freedom Foundation is waging a war on working people. 

Funded by out-of-state billionaires (including networks with ties to the Koch Brothers) the Freedom Foundation wants to keep wages low, eliminate paid sick leave, and slash crucial funding for quality education. Here's what Tom McCabe, their CEO, thinks about working people who stand together:

“We won’t be satisfied with anything short of total victory against the government union thugs.”

“I can’t think of a problem in society that can’t be traced in some way back to the abuses of organized labor.”

“The Freedom Foundation has a plan for bankrupting and defeating government unions.”

It’s clear that the Freedom Foundation’s primary agenda is to attack the right of working people to negotiate together, but they’re also in favor of undermining some basic standards. The Freedom Foundation opposes paid sick days and minimum wage increases, saying a $15 minimum wage is “an idea so stupid only liberals can believe it.”

Similarly, the Freedom Foundation is trying to undermine health care and family care workers. In 2015, a Freedom Foundation staffer said of family care workers, “Those workers are basically babysitters.” It’s clear the Freedom Foundation is working to take away all the gains that we’ve made together. Here’s how you can get involved in exposing their agenda:

  • Repost this video that exposes the truth
  • Tell Wells Fargo Executive and Murdock Trust Trustee Jeffrey Grubb, it's time to stop supporting organizations that undermine our community values. Click here to sign the petition.
  • Attend an action on Thursday, January 28 at 12:00pm at the Wells Fargo Center:  1300 SW Fifth Avenue (between Jefferson and Columbia) in downtown Portland. 

Wins for Workers are Good for Business

Oregon AFSCME Council 75 President Jeff Klatke and Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon Executive Director Rev. Joseph Santos Lyons were featured in The Oregonian last week.  The two wrote an op-ed which makes the argument for a simple idea that is too often overlooked: “Wins for workers translate into gains for businesses. When workers have more to spend, money goes back into our local economies and builds small businesses.” 

Read the full op-ed here.


Raising Wages Together

Marking nearly one year since the first-ever Raising Wages Summit, the National AFL-CIO today released a new report detailing the successes, struggles and path ahead to raise wages for working people.

The report, Fighting for a Better Life: How Working People Across America Are Organizing to Raise Wages and Improve Work, finds that over the past year income inequality has shifted from a problem we discuss to a problem we can solve.

The report points to clear and unequivocal steps for a path forward. Armed with the solutions outlined in the report, the central conclusion is that America is ready to move beyond the discussion of income inequality and is beginning to write new rules that will shape the economy.

“One year ago, we made clear that raising wages for all working people was our number one priority,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “In 2015, we came together in collective voice and action and made significant progress.”

The report goes well beyond direct wage increases, highlighting successes that demonstrate the all-encompassing nature of the raising wages agenda. Numerous organizing victories, paid sick leave laws in multiple states and municipalities and new protections against wage theft if five states are outlined as part of the effort to create an economy built on raising wages.

The report also outlines hurdles to further victories and challenges that remain as the raising wages agenda grows.

In December 2015 alone, the report shows, President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress were forced to fight off six amendments to the budget that would have rolled back protections for working people. And while the unemployment rate continued to fall last year, wage growth showed only modest improvement before grinding to a halt.

Even with modest wage growth and significant gains for working people in 2015, the report is a reminder that more work is needed in order to keep raising wages a priority in political and economic conversations.

"Although the victories and the momentum of the raising wages movement in 2015 demonstrate that collective action works, we are still far behind where we need to be and where we can be,” Trumka said. “In the year ahead, we will continue to push for a comprehensive economic agenda that puts working people first. Raising wages is not a hobby, it is our mission.”

Read the full report.