As America’s labor unions have lost members and clout, new types of worker advocacy groups have sprouted nationwide, and they have started to get on businesses’ nerves — protesting low wages at Capital Grille restaurants, for instance, and demonstrating outside Austin City Hall in Texas against giving Apple tax breaks.
The chamber questions not just the millions that foundations are giving worker centers but also the image that they run on a shoestring budget.
But worker center leaders say they need foundation funding to get off the ground and keep operating. Some foundations viewed the chamber’s report as a brushback pitch intended to discourage them from giving.
“Business groups have this notion that unions have created worker centers as front groups, that they are creatures of these big institutions,” Professor Fine [a labor relations professor at Rutgers] said. “The idea that they are sort of offspring of organized labor is just wrong.