Media ignore $56 million tax dollars to labor group tied to global hotspots

Solidarity Center annual report

The most recent Solidarity Center annual report showed the federal awards made up most of the organization’s funding. (Snip: 2012 annual report)

Many of us were recently surprised to find the Associated Press covered a controversial program that USAID funded in Cuba.

Allegations about young Latin Americans recruited for the program included the possibility of fostering dissent in that communist country. Some of the youth were paid less than $6 an hour for a project that carried the potential for serious danger.

USAID has long been viewed as a humanitarian organization rather than a political arm for national security, although that apparently changed when Hillary Clinton became Secretary of State.

USAID wasn’t the only cover used by the Obama administration, though. The fake CIA vaccination program drew a good deal of media coverage, at least for the political class. Whether any of this trickles down to voters is anyone’s guess, considering the quality of most major media these days. The current standard rests on transmitting government officials’ talking points.

As I read the account on USAID, I was reminded that a story I began to follow more than three years ago has received virtually no attention from any media of any kind. Yet the story involves at least $56 million tax dollars. And it’s more than likely a sizable portion of those taxpayer dollars were spent in global hotspots.

The Solidarity Center chaired by AFL-CIO chief Richard Trumka makes no secret of being awarded that $56 million, or of their goals to organize labor globally. The group defines its mission as seeking “to help build a global labor movement by strengthening the economic and political power of workers around the world through effective, independent and democratic unions.”

Areas where the Center is active include the Americas, the Mideast, Africa, and Europe. Global hotspots exist in countries in each of those regions.

While most Americans agree workers deserve fair wages and safe conditions, we should also question the use of our tax dollars at a time when our debt is at historic levels despite the sunny glow media adopt when talking about reductions in our deficit. It’s the debt that can take a country down.

Labor groups actually claimed credit for assisting with the so-called ‘Arab Spring’ in 2011, in that year’s March-April edition of the print journal Solidarity.

Where did the $56 million tax dollars go? Who benefited? How was the money used?

Media have never asked.

After all, more than 42,000 media workers, including those who call themselves “journalists,” belong to labor unions.

It certainly looks like all those visits Trumka made to the White House paid off.

[Featured Graphic from Solidarity Center annual report]

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Armed with federal cash from Obama, labor unions touted work in Mideast—where are they now?

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(Commentary by Kay B. Day/Aug. 7, 2014)

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About Kay Day

Kay B. Day is a freelance writer who has published in national and international magazines and websites. The author of 3 books, her work is anthologized in textbooks and collections. She has won awards for poetry, nonfiction and fiction. Day is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors and the Authors Guild.
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