Major Union Drops Partnership With United Negro College Fund Because Of The Kochs
“This was a betrayal of everything the UNCF stands for,” AFSCME president says.
posted on July 10, 2014, at 12:28 p.m.
Shannon Stapleton / Reuters / Reuters
WASHINGTON — One of the nation’s largest public-sector unions is severing its ties with the United Negro College Fund because the group accepted donations from the Koch brothers and its president spoke at a Koch-funded summit.
In a letter sent Tuesday, AFSCME President Lee Saunders wrote that the UNCF has taken actions “deeply hostile” to public employees, which he considers a “profound betrayal of the ideals of the civil rights movement,” and that the union will end its relationship with UNCF.
Saunders cited the UNCF’s decision to accept a $25 million grant from Koch Industries, Inc. and the Charles Koch Foundation as a reason for the split, as well as the decision by UNCF President Michael Lomax to speak at a summit hosted by the Kochs in California.
The Kochs have donated tremendous amounts of money to advance conservative political causes in recent years, as well as well as various philanthropic efforts.
Saunders wrote that he was “deeply troubled” by the grant, but assumed Lomax was “in no way supporting” the views of the Kochs:
Saunders wrote that he was "deeply troubled" by the grant, but assumed Lomax was "in no way supporting" the views of the Kochs:
Saunders later described the Koch brothers as the “single most prominent funders of efforts to prevent African Americans from voting.”
AFSCME’s relationship with the UNCF revolved around their Union Scholars Program, in which sophomore- and junior-year college students could work with AFSCME during the summer and receive scholarship support aftwerward.
That program will cease on Sept. 1.
“We must hold ourselves to the same standards that we promote through the Union Scholars Program,” Saunders wrote. “To practice what we preach, to fight for social justice, and to stand up for what we beleive. I cannot in good conscience face these students or AFSCME’s members if I looked the other way and ignored your actions.”
A UNCF spokesman was not immediately available to comment.
Read the full letter here:http://www.buzzfeed.com/jacobfischler/major-union-drops-partnership-with-united-negro-college-fund