This post isn’t going to be one of those juicy crime stories I enjoy writing (and you enjoy reading!), but this news is worth your time and consideration.
It is a story about the Left eating its own….
Perhaps one of the most important and consistent themes in my writing since I first became aware of the refugee program and immigration issues generally has been my focus on fake non-profit groups with increasing (often ruthless) political power disguised under what I call a “white hat of humanitarianism.”
I call them fake because the they don’t have enough private charitable support, but get their financial (and thus political!) power by using our money—the US taxpayers’ money!
They use OUR money to promote their extreme Leftwing political agenda!
Just a few days ago, I told you again about David Miliband, the CEO of the financially largest of the government-funded resettlement contractors bashing the President while he is paid over $800,000 a year as a non-profit CEO!
What does he do that is more valuable to us than the President, the VEEP, US Senators or Supreme Court Justices who make only a fraction of what he does!
So, therefore this is kind of a fun story as the Leftists attack each other in Oregon.
The point that AFSCME (public sector union) is making when it charges the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization (IRCO) with “union-busting” is that the resettlement agency is largely government-funded, yet it’s employees are not permitted to join AFSCME to fight for higher wages and benefits.
(Don’t misunderstand, I am not supporting government unions! I just like stories about Leftwing internal purity wars!)
From NonProfit Quarterly (hat tip: Joanne),
Portland Refugee Nonprofit Accused of Union-Busting
Even nonprofits attempting to change social systems are themselves participants in those systems and must be held to the same standards they seek to promote. That is the message of labor leaders in Portland, Oregon, this week, where the employees at the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization (IRCO) are fighting for the right to unionize.
According to Katie Shepherd at the Willamette Week, “IRCO employees are demanding better wages, consistent hours and more input in designing programs.” They have explored unionizing under the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), but the board and management of IRCO have opposed the union drive.
Former development associate Olivia Katbi Smith, who is an organizer with the Democratic Socialists of America and who was helping lead the unionizing effort, saw the board’s concerns differently. She tweeted, “So many good coworkers have been forced out of the organization over the past several months for [trying to unionize]. Management has created a culture of fear which they justify by insulting the intelligence of staff, saying they don’t really understand what a union is.”
Shepherd writes that starting in the 1970s, Portland has outsourced many of its social services to nonprofit contractors, including assisting refugees with education, job training, and translation and social services, which is what IRCO does.
Joe Baessler, political director of Oregon AFSCME Council 75, said, “they’re saving money on the backs of the workers. Those nonprofits pay those workers way less money, way less benefits, and you see that in the amount of turnover. A lot of those workers were AFSCME members [in the government] and then got contracted out.”
Like many non-profits as their government funding increases, private donations fall.
A quick look at IRCO’s form 990 shows that government is indeed their main source of revenue, and a significant area of growth. Just from 2016 to 2017, revenue from government grants jumped from about $13.5 million to $20.3 million. Over that same period, individual donations fell from nearly $1 million to under $500,000. NPQ has addressed how government contracts often cover program costs but not overhead; if Baessler and Shepherd are correct, IRCO’s employees’ suffering is at least partly a result of contract competition that drives cost-cutting.
But as NPQ has frequently pointed out, if you as a nonprofit underpay or otherwise don’t support your staff, you are contributing to the problems that your organization and others are attempting to solve. Ruth McCambridge wrote that the claim that raising pay would ultimately harm the mission “exhibits not only a lack of vision and commitment to social change but also a misunderstanding of what is needed to build a sustainable and qualified workforce.” And as we wrote last week, it can be done; Minnesota’s nonprofit labor force made headlines for having wages higher than the public sector.