U.S. Chamber report exposes link between activist groups, union organizations

chamber of commerceThe U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Workforce Freedom Initiative released a study on Thursday that reveals the ties between activist groups and many union organizations that have led the recent protests against employers.

The study found that between 2009 and 2012, activist groups—also known as worker centers—provided over $57 million in support to union organizations.

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

Compiled by Jarol B. Manheim, the professor emeritus of media and public affairs at George Washington University, the study detailed how activist contributions fund union organizations. The Kellogg Foundation, for example, contributed over $1.2 million to the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, and the Open Society Institute contributed nearly $700,000 to the National Domestic Workers Alliance.

The study also detailed how union organizations receive taxpayer-funded support from the federal government through grants and awards programs. The Department of Health and Human Services provided nearly $1 million in grants to the Restaurant Opportunities Center of New York over four years.

The study outlined direct ties to labor unions like OUR Walmart, which is listed as a subsidiary on federal disclosure forms.

“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,” Spencer said.

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