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Worker Centers Series Vol. 3NEWS!

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Vol. 3

The following was written by Michael C. Saqui of The Saqui Law Group

FOLLOW THE MONEY

It is clear that none of this activity occurs or at least has any effect without the availability of one critical resource, money. It takes money to organize, it takes money to communicate effectively, and it takes money to grow and sustain even the smallest and most local of associations.[i] And it is here, in the area of finance, where the worker centers benefit from yet another accelerating historical development: a boom in the number of assertive, sophisticated, and wealthy activists dedicated to charitable foundations and “social justice.” A recent study released by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce show that unions and certain foundation allies are funneling millions of dollars through the worker centers to drive political and social agendas.[iii]eport details the tremendous financial support that worker centers received from foundations such as the Kellogg Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation. To retain their tax exempt status they cannot engage in political activity, however, political activity is generally defined as partisan political activity, i.e. favoring one or another political party or candidate or express issue advocacy. That leaves open a wide range of other forms of inherently political yet legitimate activity ranging from education to policy related research to certain forms of supportive advocacy. Big labor is in the mix as well. Through Central Labor Councils, they found many of these worker centers design and coordinate the labor movements’ work in particular geographic areas.

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