Leaked: Union shill caught on tape lying to new state employees about Freedom Foundation

Leaked: Union shill caught on tape lying to new state employees about Freedom Foundation

Leaked: Union shill caught on tape lying to new state employees about Freedom Foundation

The Freedom Foundation has obtained an exclusive audio recording from a new state employee orientation during which an operative from the Washington Federation of State Employees (WFSE) can clearly be heard spewing lies about the Freedom Foundation and its mission to educate government workers about their rights.

In response to a 2018 U.S. Supreme Court ruling outlawing mandatory union membership, dues or fees for public employees, Washington’s uber-liberal Legislature passed legislation requiring that every new employee sit through a 30-minute presentation from his or her designated union extolling the virtues of membership.

During the WFSE event, paid union organizers tell new hires at the Washington Department of Labor and Industries (L&I), “There are forces right now in Olympia, during this legislative session, trying to take away your contract, trying to defund the contract (and) trying to defund your healthcare.”

On the tape, full-time WFSE organizer Matthew Reiter spends more time attacking the Freedom Foundation than he does selling the “benefits” of union membership. He describes the organization as an example of the “dark forces aligned against us” and asserts, “The Freedom Foundation is basically a union of millionaires who advocate for getting access to defunding state jobs, for getting access to the state pensions, for privatizing healthcare even more.”

Reiter continues, “Another thing the Freedom Foundation tried to do is remove spouses from healthcare insurance for state employees,” and later, “They actually tried to privatize (L&I) — and outsource all these jobs.”

According to Reiter, the Freedom Foundation wants to return to “the Wild West,” where “the free market reigns” because — as “a union, basically, of millionaires… or billionaires, really” — it wants to allow its wealthy backers to take over the provision of public employee benefits and, in so doing, increase profits.”

“It’s clear Washington state agencies like the Department of Labor and Industries are aiding and abetting in this disinformation campaign to mislead public employees,” Freedom Foundation CEO Aaron Withe said.

“The unions know the truth doesn’t work for them,” Withe continued. “They have to lie about what they’re doing — and the alternative the Freedom Foundation is offering. But it’s impossible to tell a whopper like that with the truth staring you in the face, so they make sure we can’t be.”

Vice President of Communication and Federal Affairs
Ashley Varner brings a variety of public affairs experience and a tough skin to the Freedom Foundation team. Prior to joining the Freedom Foundation, Ashley spent many exciting, turbulent and wonderful years as a media spokesperson and state government liaison at the National Rifle Association. Following her tenure at the NRA, Ashley joined the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), where she worked with state and local lawmakers across the country on a diverse set of policy and communications issues. A grassroots activist from a young age, Ashley joined her first of many political campaigns before graduating high school and organized protests across the street from her own professors at the University of Missouri. When not rabble-rousing against Big Government, Ashley enjoys cooking, mafia movies, and has seen most of the 1970s and 80s classic rock bands still on tour. She loves the Chiefs, hopes someday she can love her Mizzou Tigers again, and she was a Kansas City Royals fan and Patriot Act opponent before either was cool.