This spring, as my freshman year of college came to a close, I began to search for a summer job. I knew I wanted to work for an organization that promotes small government and individual liberty, but I had no idea where to begin.
I got a part-time job as a contributing writer for The Daily Caller, but I wanted to contribute more. I spent weeks searching for a job with no success, and I was almost ready to give up my goal.
Then, out of nowhere, a friend reached out. He asked if I knew anyone interested in working for a group called the Freedom Foundation.
I immediately recognized the name.
I was first introduced to the Freedom Foundation in high school, at an event called the Oregon Freedom Rally. At the group’s table, I encountered a professional-yet-friendly contingent of staff. After talking for a few minutes, I grabbed a pocket Constitution and went on my way.
Little did I know, the Freedom Foundation would become a large part of my life several years later.
As it turns out, my friend was the Oregon outreach director for the Freedom Foundation. His initial offer soon became my summer job. I was hired as a canvasser.
I would work on my own, only going down to the office occasionally.
I was surprised to discover the staff was mostly composed of younger people, all of whom were easy to talk to. Even though I was only working in the office for the summer, I immediately felt welcome as one of their own.
I began my work by making phone calls, something one might refer to as “remote canvassing.” My job was to advise public employees about their constitutional right to resign their membership in their union.
I met mixed responses.
Some would express interest, and we would have a lengthy conversation. At times, public employees would tell me about issues with their union. Sometimes the union was controlling. Other times, the union wasn’t representing them.
But most often, the union was using their money to play partisan politics. When the employee needed help, or the union was potentially breaking the law, I would jot down a note, “Refer to legal.”
Some of those I talked to would yell or curse, upset that I supposedly wanted to take away their benefits. This wasn’t true.
Every employee, regardless of union membership, must receive equal benefits from their union’s collective bargaining agreement.
However, when I encountered these individuals, I would just respond, “I’m glad that you’re happy with your union. Have a nice day!”
I eventually moved on to conduct research for the outreach team. The goal was to pull back the curtain on union corruption by investigating their politics and finances. After digging through public financial records, tracing political connections, and combing through documents, the results made themselves clear.
The unions are partisan political fundraising machines. In fact, we found multiple cases where officials penalized public unions for campaign finance violations . We also found stark contrasts in spending that show clear, undeniable favoritism towards one political party.
This should not have been surprising, considering the amount of left-wing content released by the unions. However, for someone new to public unions like myself, these results were shocking.
Aside from conducting research and making calls, I carried out miscellaneous jobs, such as organizing files and putting outreach material together. These tasks, though relatively minor, taught me to find purpose in everything.
Organizing files meant helping the Freedom Foundation become more effective. Putting outreach materials together meant presenting our message of individual liberty to public employees.
I found a new significance in everything.
Needless to say, working for the Freedom Foundation was an incredibly valuable experience. I now see the need to advance liberty in every aspect of American life … public policy, society, education and the workplace.
I would like to thank the Freedom Foundation for this opportunity. I highly recommend working for this professional group of freedom fighters.