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Bradley Impact Fund Blog

Let’s Not Underestimate the Dignity of Work

A few days ago, I had the chance to visit Bradley-supported Freedom Foundation in Olympia, Washington. Like so many of our grantees, it’s housed in a modest, unassuming building that belies the passion and success of the staff it houses. I met with Tom McCabe – President of the Freedom Foundation – and a few key members of the organization’s whip-smart staff. We chatted about their work leading up to the recent Janus Supreme Court decision as well as their efforts to take advantage of that monumental verdict are astounding.

Janus is a powerful and unique opportunity for us to expand workplace freedom that has its roots in more than 30 years of hard work and unwavering commitment to empower workers and expand individual liberty and free markets. The concept of a permanent freedom infrastructure is gaining strength as advocacy, education, and research organizations collaborate to renew American federalism and enhance workplace freedom. You’ll find more about this in our Labor Day 2018 Impact Brief .

I asked Tom if he’d had any negative experiences with this case. What he told me made my jaw drop. “Negative” is putting it lightly – Tom had adversaries peppering his neighborhood with flyers telling his neighbors about him. He had union members follow him to his church, and place fliers on every car in the parking lot. That’s not even to mention the threatening calls, emails and protests they continue to endure.

Here in the Midwest, we also face threats when we advocate for more freedom in the workplace – as evidenced by a recent article on a Minnesota-based website called Fight Back News: “Organizing a militant class struggle labor movement is how the working class builds political power. Our unions must become fighting unions. People will join militant unions and organize not just on moral principle, but because strong unions materially improve the economic conditions of the working class. Unions need to lead their members in bold workplace actions to survive and thrive under Janus.” I cannot imagine what must go through a person’s mind that makes them consider physical solutions to policy puzzles.

At Bradley, we believe in good policy that empowers volunteer solutions to community problems. We find and fund leaders and organizations that work for change that fosters workplace freedom and empowers citizens to move from welfare to work. You’ll find some of the leaders we think are good examples in the Bradley Impact Brief , which highlights the dignity of work, be it through changing laws that force workers to join unions or helping more people get off of government aid and find work.

The dignity of work cannot be underestimated as both salve and solution to so many of the challenges our nation faces today. A job is the starting point for self-worth, a family’s financial stability, and ultimately, the American Dream for us all.