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Think tank reveals labor union transparency push

FILE - In this May 1, 2016 file photo, Cuba's First Vice President Miguel Diaz-Canel, left, stands with President Raul Castro during the May Day parade in Havana, Cuba. Diaz-Canel, an engineer by training who began his career as a provincial bureaucrat, is expected in 2018 to assume one of Raul Castro’s roles: the presidency. Castro plans to remain first secretary of the Cuban Communist Party, a potentially more powerful position, until at least 2021. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa, File)

Forcing public and private unions to become more transparent is the new political goal of the Olympia-based free market think tank the Freedom Foundation, its new CEO revealed on the David Boze show Tuesday morning.

“Our No. 1 objective is going to be and has been union transparency,” CEO Tom McCabe said. “We believe there’s no path to expanded liberty or freedom that does not include dramatically reducing the political power of unions in our state.”

McCabe said that the think tank has already uncovered startling facts about union political contributions, which overwhelmingly benefit Democrats. During the 2012 gubernatorial election, he said, unions donated $5.8 million to Democrat Jay Inslee, and just $19,000 to Republican Rob McKenna – despite that 46 percent of union households voted for McKenna.

Ultimately, McCabe said, the Freedom Foundation’s goal is to support legislation that would protect workers who do not want to belong to a union, but want to work in a unionized sector, like state government.

Boze questioned how McCabe and the Freedom Foundation would accomplish such a goal in an overwhelmingly Democratic, pro-union state. McCabe said that the Freedom Foundation would work incrementally and highlighted that right-to-work legislation in Michigan and Wisconsin developed over many years.

During the 2014 legislative session, McCabe said, the Freedom Foundation will support “modest” legislation requiring unions to show all political expenditures, as corporations are required to do.

“I’m not going to say we’re going to have the success we need in one year,” McCabe told Boze. “This is a battle that’ll last for a couple of years.”

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