Subsidizing the Big Labor Left
Large labor unions, particularly the powerful and often left-wing public employee unions, are major supporters of Democratic and left-leaning causes. The Ford Foundation gave grants totaling $44.5 million in 2021 to 10 groups that promote the policy objectives of labor unions.
- National Domestic Workers Alliance ($10 million). The NDWA is a worker center affiliated with the SEIU, a left-wing labor union.
- Neighborhood Funders Group ($7.2 million). Two grants for labor union projects, one of which is Funders for a Just Economy (FJE). The Neighborhood Funders Group webpage describes FJE as “committed to placing organized labor, worker centers, worker justice campaigns, policy efforts, and organizing strategies at the center of our various efforts.”
- Jobs with Justice Education Fund ($7.1 million). Jobs with Justice promotes the interests of Big Labor. It lists many of the largest left-of-center labor organizations in America as its “Union Partners.” The eight-member board of directors includes representatives from the AFL-CIO, AFSCME, the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, the SEIU, the Center for Community Change, and the National Domestic Workers Alliance.
- National Black Workers Center Project ($4 million). This is a fiscally sponsored project of NEO Philanthropy, a left-leaning donor-advised fund. The National Black Workers Center Project promotes several objectives of major labor unions, such as higher minimum wage laws. The eight-person board of directors includes two representatives from the SEIU. The website asserts that “racial capitalism operates and maintains” a “systemic exploitation of Black workers.” The group also proposes enactment of $2,400 monthly checks paid by the federal government to all mothers ($28,800 annually) and an additional $1,000 monthly check (totally $40,800 annually) for mothers who “are Black, Indigenous, or other economically disadvantaged people of color.”
- CARE Fund ($3.5 million). This is a fiscally sponsored project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, a left-leaning donor-advised fund. The CARE Fund provides grants to advocacy groups affiliated with labor unions, such as Family Values @ Work and the National Domestic Workers Alliance.
- Center for Innovation in Worker Organization (CIWO) at Rutgers University ($3 million). The CIWO trains union activists and promotes the interests of left-leaning labor unions. It lists major labor unions and advocacy groups as its partner organizations. Examples include the American Federation of Teachers, AFSCME, the National Education Association, the SEIU, the National Black Workers Center Project, the National Domestic Workers Alliance, Jobs with Justice and the Partnership for Working Families.
- Economic Policy Institute ($2.65 million). EPI is a research group that is funded and run by labor unions. Its board of directors includes representatives from left-leaning labor, policy and political groups, including the AFL-CIO, AFSCME, the SEIU, the National Education Association, the American Federation of Teachers, the United Steelworkers, the Democratic National Committee, and The American Prospect.
- The International Comparative Labor Studies Program at Morehouse College ($1.5 million). The program trains union activists, and the website states that part of the program mission is to “serve local labor developments, global unions, works councils, and other governance and education needs.” A description of the program’s senior seminar states that it trains students in the theory that capitalism and racism are linked both historically and in the present day and that “it should come as no surprise that the language of democratic socialism is again moving more squarely into the public discourse, and in ways that resonate especially among a diverse cadre of young people who are eager to think more clearly about where we are.”
- New York Taxi Workers Alliance ($1.5 Million). This group is an affiliate of the AFL-CIO that seeks to impose conventional and protectionist taxi regulations on non-union Uber/Lyft-style rideshare drivers.
In the next installment, the Ford Foundation has provided substantial funding to the Arabella Advisors network.