The Freedom Foundation’s Shameful Attacks on Frontline Healthcare Workers

Across the Pacific Northwest and beyond, the COVID-19 pandemic has suddenly thrust home-based caregivers and nursing home staff onto the front lines of a dangerous health battle. These are the critical healthcare workers who provide care for people in need at their home, or who are hired to care for patients in retirement homes. They are vital to the health and safety of people who are most susceptible to the worst of the coronavirus.

Many of these workers have unionized to fight for better wages, benefits, and workplace protections. Due to their unionized status, they have caught the attention of anti-union groups and have been shamelessly under attack for years. One of their assailants is a struggling right-wing political group based in Olympia, ironically calling itself the Freedom Foundation. This billionaire-funded group has spent millions trying – and failing – to destroy the unions representing frontline healthcare workers.

Historically underpaid and undervalued, home healthcare workers have organized for decades to demand fair wages and earn reasonable workplace benefits like paid sick leave and health insurance. How did the anti-worker Freedom Foundation respond? By trying to strip these workers of their hard-fought gains.

The billionaire-funded group has repeatedly argued against raising the minimum wage and has fought against paid sick leave laws, the exact kinds of protection workers so desperately need right now. The Freedom Foundation is currently under investigation for allegedly purchasing stolen membership lists from one of the labor unions representing these workers.

Most recently, they took credit for a Trump administration policy that would discriminate against home healthcare unions, forcing on them anti-union rules that most other unions aren’t required to follow. In actuality, the Freedom Foundation had no role in the rule change, but it didn’t prevent them from bragging about it to their gullible funders at secretive fundraising meetings – meetings that the Northwest Accountability Project was able to attend.

The front lines of this pandemic battle have been drawn, and as a nation we are redefining what it means to be an “essential worker.” Custodians, grocery store workers, restaurant staff, nursing home aides and home healthcare workers are who we rely on more than ever to keep our country safe and functional. The anti-worker Freedom Foundation and their extreme allies have taken a different course, continuing to cynically target workers’ wages, benefits, livelihoods, and labor unions. As workers prepare for an enormous battle against a new foe, the coronavirus, it’s clear the anti-union Freedom Foundation continues to be on the wrong side of the fight.