Wash. State union members win important privacy victory against conservative group
November 01, 2017
In May of this year the Sky Valley Chronicle
reported that Washington State had a new distinction: it's
one of the top
targets for the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation’s plans "to
unions and state laws protecting workers’ rights," according to reports
from the Center For
Media Democracy and the Milwaukee Journal
According to those reports and TheStand.org, a
labor news website, investigations into
Bradley Foundation documents show that "the organization funded
conservative infrastructure in 13 states, with its largest grants going
Colorado, North Carolina, Oregon, Washington, and Wisconsin."
In 2016, the
foundation’s assets were worth more than $800 million.
The Bradley Foundation is based in Milwaukee. It refers to
itself as a “charitable nonprofit,” yet much of its focus, according to
groups and some news media outlets, "is on pushing a partisan agenda
expanding Republican control of government bodies by funding local
media outlets and think tanks, anti-worker groups, and organizations to
conservative candidates," according to The Stand.org.
In Washington state, the Bradley Foundation granted $1.5
million over three years to the conservative "Freedom Foundation"
with the purpose of “defund[ing] Big Labor,” because “Washington
liberal labor laws have long allowed it to be a net exporter of union
to other parts of the country,” according to proposals regarding the
says examples of the Freedom Foundation’s
"anti-union activities in Washington" include canvassing, mailing,
and phone banking union members to get them to opt out of their unions
hiring a "Santa Claus" to leaflet state workers as they walked in and
out of their workplace, encouraging them to stop paying full union dues.
organized labor has been in a stand-your-ground fight with the Freedom
Foundation and now a coalition of state worker unions has found itself
with a significant
court victory in its long-running feud with the FF, which has been
notify public employees of how they can opt out of paying some union
panel of three judges in Division II of the state Court of Appeals
reversed a lower court ruling on Tuesday, saying workers in this state
"have constitutional privacy protections that bar the Freedom
from getting the names and corresponding birth dates of employees
public records requests," said a report in the Morning News Tribune.
Foundation has been pushing hard, trying to get the names, emails and
dates of state workers to send them information "about their options to
avoid union fees."
Foundation wants to cross reference the state’s voter registry with the
and birth dates of state workers in order to get access to home
addresses for canvassing
unions have been trying to get an injunction to block the requests but
have not been unsuccessful in that effort.
the appellate court ruled Tuesday that disclosure of those names and
birth dates "gives no useful information to the public about how
government is operating and could lead to identity theft and other
difficulties for state workers," says the report which adds that the
court's ruling says unions “have satisfied the requirements for an
granting permanent” Public Records Act injunctions. The result: the
court’s decision refusing to grant a permanent injunction was
case now returns to Thurston County Superior Court for further
on the story here.