Koch Brothers-Backed Effort to Sabotage Unions Uses Secret “Tool Kit” to Encourage Members to Quit

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Internal documents obtained by The Guardian show how a network of right-wing think tanks have launched a nationwide effort to convince members of public sector unions to stop paying dues. The effort is backed by $80 million in funding from billionaires like the Koch brothers, who expect a favorable decision from the Supreme Court this month in a case that could let workers who benefit from union-negotiated contracts avoid paying union dues if they opt not to join the union. The campaign comes as North Carolina teachers staged a massive walkout today, shuttering hundreds of schools, on the heels of major strikes by teacher unions in West Virginia, Kentucky, Oklahoma and Arizona. For more, we speak with Ed Pilkington, chief reporter for The Guardian in the U.S. His new report is an exclusive look at “How rightwing groups wield secret ‘toolkit’ to plot against US unions.”

TRANSCRIPT

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, we end today’s show looking at a new plan by a network of right-wing think tanks to convince members of public sector unions to stop paying dues. Internal documents obtained by The Guardian show the State Policy Network has launched a campaign to, quote, “cause public-sector unions to experience 5 to 20 percent declines in membership, costing hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars in dues money.” The documents note, quote, “This can affect the resources and attention available for union leaders to devote to political action campaigns,” end of quote.

The effort is backed by $80 million in funding from billionaires like the Koch brothers, who expect a favorable decision from the Supreme Court this month in a case that could let workers who benefit from union-negotiated contracts avoid paying union dues if they opt not to join the union.

AMY GOODMAN: The campaign comes amidst major strikes by teachers’ unions in West Virginia, Kentucky, Oklahoma and Arizona. Today, a major walkout…

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