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.”