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Labor Protesting with Taxpayers Money

In a story posted yesterday at Reason magazine (HT Mark Levin), Eric Boehm provides the following lede (most links already embedded):

"Labor activists using tactics adopted from the Occupy Wall Street movement are crashing restaurants across the nation in an effort to raise wages for workers – and they’re getting taxpayer money to fund the effort.

"Using a combination of federal grants and grants from left-leaning organizations, the Restaurant Opportunity Center, or ROC, is technically a charitable nonprofit and not a union. But their pro-worker messages, anti-employer protests and self-proclaimed goal of organizing service sector employees for the purposes of negotiating higher wages make ROC look and sound much like a labor union."

"Some see their tactics as a deliberate attempt to skirt the nation’s labor laws," Boehm writes before adding, "(b)ut others, including the head of the AFL-CIO, an umbrella group for dozens of labor unions, see ROC and groups like them as the new face of labor organizing in America."

Unfortunately for taxpayers, "ROC gets bankrolled with taxpayer cash." According to Boehm:

"While the Restaurant Opportunity Center is working to increase wages for some workers, they are getting paid, in part, with federal tax dollars.

"According to tax filings for ROC United, the parent organization that has launched the smaller chapters operating in many cities, the group got $180,000 in government grants during 2010 and another $60,000 in similar grants during 2011.

"The organization’s budget was about $1.72 million in 2010 and $2.65 million in 2011 – meaning taxpayer dollars accounted for a little more than 5 percent of their operating costs.

"Other funding for ROC’s initiatives comes from the usual left-wing sources, including grants from the Tides Foundation, a group that also gets tax dollars from the federal government, as a previous Watchdog.org investigation uncovered.

"Some Republican members of Congress are asking for an investigation into a Department of Labor grant to ROC."

That's only the bare essentials. Read the entire article as well as other good articles at Reason magazine.

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