Labor’s Latest Attack Just Shows We’re Getting Under Their Skin

Labor’s Latest Attack Just Shows We’re Getting Under Their Skin

Labor’s Latest Attack Just Shows We’re Getting Under Their Skin

Not surprisingly, given its intended audience, David Groves’ hapless swing and miss this week at the Freedom Foundation in the online labor journal “The Stand” is long on smug innuendo but woefully lacking in the sort of substance anyone capable of thinking for himself would demand.

But then, one doesn’t rise to the lofty position of house organ editor and head shill for Washington State Labor Council without learning how to dumb things down. 

The “news hook” for Groves’ hissy fit is the Freedom Foundation’s recent job posting for a litigation attorney to “take on the unions and their political allies” — an opportunity we anticipate literally hundreds of attorneys are champing at the bit to seize. 

His first attempt to discredit the organization begins by correctly noting that the Freedom Foundation espouses “laissez-faire capitalism,” followed by his conclusion that, “apparently freedom of association isn’t very high on their (sic) Freedom Priority List.”

In point of fact, I’m quite certain everyone here values the freedom to associate with whomever one chooses far more than David Groves and the union dons to whose tune he dances. What we also understand is that the freedom to associate implies a freedom not to associate — a right countless union members would doubtless exercise if their compliance were not made a mandatory condition of employment. 

The difference between having core principles and just mouthing the words is a willingness to defend the rights of even those with whom you disagree. I’d stand our record on that score up against organized labor’s any day of the week. Put it this way: We don’t have to hold people’s paychecks hostage to get them to join the Freedom Foundation.

Then Groves goes for the coup de gras. (See? We took French in high school, too.) He cites Source Watch — an online enterprise of the uber-liberal Center for Media and Democracy — to prove the Freedom Foundation consorts with the “infamous corporate-funded bill mill, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), and … gets money from national foundations funded by aggressively anti-union Republican billionaires like Richard ScaifeThomas Roe, and the Walton family.”


With respect to ALEC, to my knowledge the Freedom Foundation’s only connection with the organization is that our founder, Bob Williams, is currently an officer in ALEC. He is also, I’m told, a certified public accountant. Does that mean the bully boys at the American Institute of CPAs are calling the shots here, too?

As a 501C(3) nonprofit, the Freedom Foundation isn’t required to subject its donors to the sort of abuse Mr. Groves evidently believes they deserve for exercising their right to political expression, so I don’t know whether any of the names he throws around are among our donors — and neither does he. One thing I do know, though: If I had a choice between being supported by the Koch brothers and Richard Scaife or Tom Steyer and George Soros, I know whose checks I’d be prouder to cash.

Come to think of it, I know one other thing, too. I know that everyone funding the Freedom Foundation — whoever they may be — gave their donation willingly, not because they feared losing their job if they didn’t. Can the thugs at WSLC make the same boast?

And what do we do with these ill-gotten gains? Groves breathlessly discloses to his lemming-like readers that the Freedom Foundation “promote(s) privatization of public schools, cutting taxes and reducing government services, and attacking unions.”

This is a bad thing?

Naturally, Groves saves his most vitriolic prose for Freedom Foundation CEO Tom McCabe, whom he describes as “abrasive,” apparently missing completely the irony of that statement. 

Which isn’t to say Tom can’t be abrasive. How else to remove stains?

Finally, Groves is also quite right that the “once-wonky” Freedom Foundation is adopting a more aggressive posture these days, including its unapologetic strategy of challenging union excesses in court. 

And the idea of it justifiably terrifies him.

“Get ready, organized labor,” Groves hisses. “The Freedom Foundation is about to make sure you know that freedom ain’t free.”

Sort of. But as one editor to another, I’d like to suggest one slight modification that would make his closing statement 100 percent accurate:

The Freedom Foundation is about to make sure you know that the abuse of freedom ain’t free.

Vice President for News and Information
Jeff is a native of West Virginia and a graduate of West Virginia University with a degree in journalism. He served in the U.S. Army at Fort Lewis, Wash., as a broadcast journalist and has worked at a number of newspapers in West Virginia and Washington. Most recently, he spent 11 years as editor of the Port Orchard (Wash.) Independent, which earned the 2011 Washington Newspaper Publishers’ Association’s General Excellence Award as the top community newspaper in Washington. Previously, he was editor of the Business Examiner newspaper in Tacoma, Wash., for seven years. Jeff lives in Lacey; he and his wife have grown twin daughters.