Most Freedom@Work readers are already aware of a growing scandal involving the pro-forced unionism Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now (ACORN) in New York, Baltimore, Washington, and now, California. For those who missed it, ACORN representatives were caught on camera giving advice to undercover journalists on how to open an illegal brothel, launder its profits, and commit a host of other illegal activities.
According to The Washington Examiner, teacher union officials have contributed over 1.3 million dollars (in mostly forced union dues) to ACORN since 2005.
We decided to do a little digging into union financial disclosure forms on the Department of Labor's website. After examining union financial records, it turns out that officials of several high-profile unions diverted large sums of mostly forced union dues dollars to the same ACORN offices in Washington and New York that are implicated in the hidden camera scandal.
In 2008, for example, the AFL-CIO New York City Teacher Union gave a total of $406,730 to an ACORN office in Brooklyn that was later exposed by undercover journalists at Big Government. This contribution was classified under "representational activities," meaning it was funded by teachers forced to pay dues to teacher union bosses. In states without a Right to Work law like New York, employees who don't join unions can still be forced to pay union dues if union bosses acquire monopoly bargaining privileges.
The powerful Service Employees International Union (SEIU) has also made financial contributions to ACORN. In 2008, the SEIU transferred $12,500 to ACORN's Washington, DC office for "consulting fees and expenses." Once again, this was classified under "representational activities." The DC ACORN office is also implicated in the massive hidden camera scandal.
Finally, the NEA union hierarchy made its own significant financial contribution to ACORN in 2008. According to Department of Labor disclosure forms, the NEA bosses transferred $78,000 to ACORN's Brooklyn office.
Because only the 2008 union disclosure forms are easily searchable, these shady transactions may be the tip of the iceberg. But we shouldn't be surprised by the Big Labor-ACORN connection: after all, their organizational approaches and ideology are strikingly similar. In 2008, National Review's Stanley Kurtz described one of ACORN's favored "organizing" tactics:
Perhaps most mischievously, says Stern, Acorn uses banking regulations to pressure financial institutions into massive “donations” that it uses to finance supposedly non-partisan voter turn-out drives.
Anyone familiar with Big Labor's corporate campaigns will immediately recognize this strategy. Like ACORN, Big Labor's operatives frequently threaten non-union companies and workers with harassment, PR broadsides, and union-instigated protests with the goal of forcing them to knuckle under to forced unionism.
These financial connections between Big Labor and ACORN highlight the fundamental injustices of forced unionism. Every day, unwilling workers are forced to pay dues to union bosses or be fired from their jobs while their hard-earned money underwrites corruption and general thuggery.