Another Defeat for the Oregon Branch of the Freedom Foundation

In the fall of 2015, the anti-worker Freedom Foundation moved across the river from Washington to Oregon and announced that they would be “…doing what [they do] best – making life miserable for government employee unions.” Unfortunately for them and their funders, they have failed miserably. The Freedom Foundation’s main Oregon target, SEIU 503, which represents home healthcare workers and other public employees, has higher membership than ever. SEIU 503 has been moving a pro-worker agenda that includes minimum wage increases and paid sick leave for all — both issues the Freedom Foundation opposes.

Just recently, the Oregon chapter of the Freedom Foundation suffered another defeat as they tried to prevent SEIU 503 members from protecting members’ personal information including names, birthdates, and home addresses. In a completely lopsided vote, union members voted with 91 percent of ballots cast to change the union’s corporate non-profit status.

The Oregon staffers at the Freedom Foundation, including controversial leader Anne Marie Gurney, worked tirelessly and spent big money trying to oppose this vote. They dedicated significant staff time, they appeared on conservative talk radio, sent out mailings, and wrote op-eds that were so factually inaccurate the editorial board had to “update” the information. We even heard radio ads. It is hard to know how much the Freedom Foundation spent because they are so secretive about their donors and spending, but given the costs of the activities they engaged in it, could have been in excess of $100,000.

This is not the first time the Oregon chapter has failed. In addition to SEIU 503’s membership and activism being at an all-time high, last fall most of the Freedom Foundation’s upper-level staff drove from Washington to Salem, Oregon to hold a press conference that no one covered. Additionally, in their attempt to build credibility with policy folks in Oregon, the Freedom Foundation embarrassed themselves by failing to even get the dates right on ballot measure deadlines.

The Freedom Foundation’s new MO is to lie about their success, convince donors to give them money based on these lies, and then fall flat on their faces.