Last week, WW wrote about a proposal to spend nearly a half-billion dollars to widen Interstate 5 at the Rose Quarter ("The Low Road," WW, Oct. 11, 2017). Here's what readers had to say about the proposal:

Guard Lance Boyles, via Facebook: "I've driven all over the country, and it's one of the worst stretches I've driven as far as chronic congestion and accidents. It seems there's always a wreck there or near it."

Theodore Birchard, via Facebook: "Widening lanes does pretty much nothing to relieve congestion, as the traffic increases to fill that lane regardless. This has been happening for years, and only recently have cities like Houston and L.A. started to learn this. Let's not fall into that same trap."

Chris Elliott, via wweek.com: "We all know that we are overdue for a major earthquake. And we all know that most, if not all, of our bridges will fall. And we all know the gridlock that happens in this city when even one bridge isn't open. Why in the holy hell wouldn't the first priority of Oregon Department of Transportation, the city and the state be to fix and/or replace our bridges?"

Foundation Undermines Labor

Pretending to care about Oregon sewer workers is the latest move in the Freedom Foundation's scheme to attack working people in the Northwest. A recent article ("Gutter Politics," WW, Sept. 27, 2017) highlighted this but missed a few key points.

The article seems to suggest the Freedom Foundation is trying to help workers. Let's be clear: The Freedom Foundation is not a friend of working people. Their idea of "helping" is to dismantle all organized labor, leaving workers and their families with no collective power. They oppose nearly every pro-worker policy, like raising the minimum wage and paid sick leave. They are even attempting to cut workers' retirement benefits.

Further, while I appreciate WW's vigilance in unearthing their nefarious activities, the article failed to provide important context regarding the Freedom Foundation's efforts. Quite simply, they are not very good at their job. To be sure, they have deep pockets from a network of out-of-state funders, but they have made no significant impact on organized labor in the Northwest. The article mentions attacks made on home health care workers but fails to mention that their union, SEIU 503, has record-high membership.

This is not to say the Freedom Foundation does not provide a danger. In its ham-handed efforts, they have abused the law and put workers at risk, at times resorting to nefarious means to obtain union members' personal information and putting them at risk of identity theft.

Freedom Foundation is a sham organization whose only purpose is to attack workers.

Peter Starzynski
Northwest Accountability Project

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