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WA Groups Protest Anti-Union Event with Fox News' Ingraham

Laura Ingraham has been a host on Fox News since 2017. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)
Laura Ingraham has been a host on Fox News since 2017. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)
September 20, 2019

BELLEVUE, Wash. – Groups are lining up to protest the annual fundraising dinner of the anti-union group Freedom Foundation, which features Fox News host Laura Ingraham this year.

MLK Labor, the Washington State Labor Council AFL-CIO, and Seattle Indivisible are among the groups planning to counter the event outside the Hyatt Regency Bellevue tomorrow. Judy Kuschel is president of the Washington Federation of State Employees and says members of her organization will be there as well.

She says the Freedom Foundation stands against employees having a say in their workplace and advocating for safety and other issues.

"That a very well-funded, wealthy group is trying to take away from people who are doing public-service jobs, serving their community and struggling to make a living in an economy that has been very difficult to me is just unconscionable," says Kuschel.

Freedom Foundation CEO Tom McCabe says his group invited Ingraham to keynote Saturday's event because she is "keenly aware" of public unions' influence on politics and that unions have a "stranglehold" on Northwest policymaking.

According to the Center for Media and Democracy, the group's budget was $4.6 million dollars in 2017 and its donors include the Charles Koch Foundation and the Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation.

Peter Starzynski, executive director of the Northwest Accountability Project, says Ingraham has made millions of dollars with her divisive rhetoric and believes it has real-world implications, saying the alleged El Paso shooter last month echoed her language on immigrants.

With union membership growing in Washington state in 2018, he adds that the Freedom Foundation's campaign against unions hasn't been successful.

"Because working families can see right through this charade that they're putting on,” says Starzynski. “And they know that this group does not have the best interests of working families in mind, that their only goal is to drive division. And so in many ways, Laura Ingraham's a perfect fit for them."

The protest is to begin at 5:30 p.m. Saturday at the Hyatt Regency in Bellevue.

Disclosure: Washington Federation of State Employees - AFSCME Council 28 contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy & Priorities, Livable Wages/Working Families. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - WA