Unions Form Astroturf Group To Smear Freedom Foundation

Unions Form Astroturf Group To Smear Freedom Foundation

Unions Form Astroturf Group To Smear Freedom Foundation

There’s an old saying that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and in most fields that may be true. But in the bare-knuckle world of union politics, the highest compliment an opponent can pay you to devote its precious time and treasure to fighting back.

And by that standard, the Freedom Foundation this week received perhaps its most lavish tribute to date from its “admirers” in organized labor.

Last week, the Washington State Labor Council (WSLC) announced the creation of a new front group dedicated purely to smearing the Freedom Foundation.

The move comes several months after the WSLC passed a resolution condemning the Freedom Foundation and resolving to “develop educational tools and a road show on the deception of Freedom Foundation (Effers).”

With childcare providers leaving SEIU in droves due to a Freedom Foundation education campaign, the Democrat state attorney general suing major unions for campaign finance violations reported by the Freedom Foundation, and legislation empowering workers to take control of their union representation working its way through the state legislature, Washington unions are understandably a little edgy.

The website for the so-called “Northwest Accountability Project” (NAP) uses familiar union rhetoric and doublespeak to disparage the Freedom Foundation and its attempts to allow public employees to choose for themselves whether to join and support labor unions.

NAP claims such goals are “extreme” and “radical.” In addition to the usual union talking points, NAP makes a series of downright bizarre claims about the Freedom Foundation.

For example, NAP attempts to tie the Freedom Foundation to what it calls “anti-immigrant” legislation in Arizona, although the Freedom Foundation has never worked on immigration policy, much less Arizona immigration policy.

The group also claims the Freedom Foundation opposes “LGBT rights” and “women’s reproductive rights.” But again, neither of these are issues the Freedom Foundation even works on.

NAP launched its presence with a slick attack ad against the Freedom Foundation that repeats many of the written claims on its website.

Interestingly, whenever a business group uses stock images or video footage in its campaign videos, labor groups point it out and criticize the sponsors for their inability to recruit “real people” to support their position. 

For instance, last year SEIU-front group Working Washington attacked a video put out by the International Franchise Association for using stock images instead of real franchise owners.

Just recently, Seattle Councilmember Kshama Sawant criticized a mailing sent out by her opponent Pamela Banks for its use of stock photos.

As it turns out, the Northwest Accountability Project video makes generous use of — wait for it — stock imagery.

At one point the video displays the faces of three individuals paired with the text, “Does this sound like an organization that represents our values?”

But the people being shown are hardly ordinary Washingtonians or even ordinary Washington union workers. All three were simply drawn from banks of stock photos. A little digging revealed the true identities of these individuals:

Woman “daydreaming”
“Smile senior woman”

And last but not least:

Manual worker in hard hat and safety glasses”  

Of course, it’s quite common for such ads to feature stock footage, and it really wouldn’t be an issue if the labor groups hadn’t decided to make it one. But, as usual, the unions get to play by different rules than the rest of us.

Ironically, the Freedom Foundation has released a series of videos over the past year using real people, telling real stories to explain why they don’t want to be forced to support unions against their will. Every single video features real people, telling real stories. 

If nothing else, NAP proves that government unions in Washington are worried. They realize their monopolistic, compulsory schemes have lost them both the moral high ground and the support of their members.

For our part, we’re enormously proud that we’re fighting to free thousands of workers from the tyranny and immorality of forced unionization. If that position seems extreme to the unions, it only proves how out of the mainstream their views are, not ours.

Director of Research and Government Affairs
As the Freedom Foundation’s Director of Research and Government Affairs, Maxford Nelsen leads the team working to advance the Freedom Foundation’s mission through strategic research, public policy advocacy, and labor relations. Max regularly testifies on labor issues before legislative bodies and his research has formed the basis of several briefs submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court. Max’s work has been published in local newspapers around the country and in national outlets like the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, The Hill, National Review, and the American Spectator. His work on labor policy issues has been featured in media outlets like the New York Times, Fox News, and PBS News Hour. He is a frequent guest on local radio stations like 770 KTTH and 570 KVI. From 2019-21, Max was a presidential appointee to the Federal Service Impasses Panel within the Federal Labor Relations Authority, which resolves contract negotiation disputes between federal agencies and labor unions. Prior to joining the Freedom Foundation in 2013, Max worked for WashingtonVotes.org and the Washington Policy Center and interned with the Heritage Foundation. Max holds a labor relations certificate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and graduated magna cum laude from Whitworth University with a bachelor’s degree in political science. A Washington native, he lives in Olympia with his wife and sons.