AWESOME: Union Front Group Got Taxpayer Funds From Department of Labor to Push Minimum Wage Hikes

Guest post by Eric Boehm

The U.S. Department of Labor handed over $ 275,000 in taxpayer-funded grants in 2009 to an organization that claimed to be a charitable nonprofit with tax-exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service.

But that organization was not officially certified as a 501(c)3 charitable nonprofit until 2010, documents show.

The Restaurant Opportunity Center, or ROC-United, a national organization working to raise the minimum wage and improve working conditions for restaurant workers by combing the labor organizing muscle of powerful unions with Occupy Wall Street protest tactics, got the grant anyway.

The group is organizing several high profile events this week to highlight the $ 2.17 national minimum wage for tipped workers.

In the 2009 grant application, ROC United submitted a letter to the Department of Labor that showed the IRS had granted tax exempt status to ROC New York — an affiliated but legally separate organization — even though the $ 275,000 grant would flow to ROC United.

The department was either fooled by the application or didn’t check it closely enough.

Either way, ROC was awarded the grant through the Susan Harwood Grant Program, which is supposed to be limited to 501(c)3 charitable nonprofits, a status not granted to ROC United until June 2010.

“This is also further reason why ROC should not be receiving taxpayer funds. ROC takes taxpayer money, then turns around and lobbies Congress and pushes labor-backed initiatives across the country,” said Mike Paranzino, communications director for ROC Exposed, a political nonprofit that obtained the 2009 grant application via a Freedom of Information request.

Documents obtained by ROC Exposed show that when ROC United applied for the federal grant in August 2009, the group was in the midst of a back-and-forth battle with the IRS over its tax status.

On the application, ROC United claimed to be a “nonprofit with 501(c)3 status.”

But six months later, in February 2010, lawyers representing ROC United were still haggling with the IRS over the organization’s status, and indicated in a letter that the IRS hadn’t granted ROC United official 501(c)3 status.

By that time, the grant records show, federal cash was already flowing to the organization.

A spokesman for the department didn’t respond to a request from Watchdog.org seeking information about the grant application and whether it could be reviewed five years after it was approved. The department also didn’t respond when asked if there could be penalties imposed for grants that were obtained with inaccurate application information.

ROC United didn’t return calls for comment.

When the Labor Department announced the grants in 2009, the award given to ROC United was supposed to “provide training to small restaurant employers” and to develop “local health and safety committees for ongoing workers and employers.” The grant said ROC United would provide training to 50 restaurants and an estimated 2,000 workers in Chicago, New York, Detroit, Los Angeles, Miami and Washington, D.C.

Since 2009, affiliates of ROC United have sprung up in each of those cities.

But training workers on safety issues is hardly the organization’s primary purpose.

Founded after 9/11 to help restaurant workers displaced from their jobs in lower Manhattan, ROC has morphed into a national organization with branches in most major cities. The organization’s goal is “to improve wages and working conditions for the nation’s restaurant workforce,” according to its website, which brags about ROC’s role in several states’ recent decisions to raise the minimum wage.

The organization has helped organize protests against several restaurant chains and is helping promote protests on Thursday — February 13, a date meant to draw attention to the $ 2.13 per hour wage for tipped workers — around the country.

The group joined U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, on Wednesday for a conference call urging an increase to the national minimum wage, and ROC United bragged on its Facebook page about being at the White House for an event focusing on the minimum wage.

The group has slowly gained more influence with the Labor Department since that initial 2009 grant, regardless of whether the grant was obtained properly.

In 2011, the department announced an “alliance” with ROC to promote workplace safety.

Its success has caught the eye of major unions, who see service sector employees as a new frontier in labor organization.

All over America, workers are organizing in all kinds of ways, and they call their unity by all kinds of names — workers’ unions, associations, centers, networks,” said AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka in September, praising ROC United’s executive director Saru Jayaraman for her role in organizing restaurant workers.

While ROC United puts pressure on restaurants to increase wages, Congress might soon put pressure on them.

Two years ago, the House Oversight Committee caught wind of the 2009 grant application and the seemingly inaccurate representation of the group’s tax exempt status.

In a letter to the Labor Department, committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., asked for information about that questionable 2009 grant and why it was awarded when the organization wasn’t yet recognized by the IRS as a nonprofit.

ROC’s history of intimidation towards opponents and management problems with its own restaurant raises significant questions about why DOL decided to form an alliance with and provide federal funding to the organization,” Issa wrote.

The grant is one of six taxpayer-funded grants ROC has received from the federal government — the other five came from the U.S. Department of Health, federal records show — totaling more than $ 1 million.

Caitlin Carroll, spokeswoman for the House Oversight Committee, said lawmakers and staff are currently reviewing additional materials received from the Labor Department concerning the issues raised in the July 2012 letter.

Boehm is a reporter for Watchdog.org and can be reached at EBoehm@Watchdog.org. Follow @WatchdogOrg and @EricBoehm87 on Twitter for more.

Doug Ross @ Journal

Thank you for blessing the poor & needy in Israel. Read The Joshua Fund’s 2013 Donor Report online to learn more about the difference you’re making.

TJF-donorrpt2013

>> If you would like to make a tax-deductible, year-end financial gift to The Joshua Fund, we would be very grateful. You give securely on-line by clicking here.

Dear faithful friend of The Joshua Fund –

Because of you — through your faithful prayers and generous financial support — the Lord has touched the lives of thousands of Jewish and Arab families in the epicenter in real and practical ways with the love of Jesus Christ.

A few examples:

  • By God’s grace, The Joshua Fund provided food and other relief supplies to more than 43,940 poor and needy Jewish and Arab families this year — an increase of more than 4% over 2012.
  • Two new distribution centers have just opened, bringing us to a total of 14 centers distributing relief supplies throughout Israel. We are prayerfully considering opening 2 or 3 new distribution centers in 2014.
  • We have had the honor of helping Christian ministries that are doing relief work among refugees escaping the civil war in Syria.
  • TJF has also planned and funded retreats for pastors and ministry leaders, and provided biblical training, encouragement and refreshment for those serving throughout the epicenter region.

On our website, www.joshuafund.net, we have posted the 2013 Donor Report to give you a sense of the many projects you have helped to fund in 2013, and get a glimpse of the lives the Lord has blessed because of you.

We have also posted a short video message I recently taped sharing some of the highlights of the Donor Report.

I hope you will pour yourself a nice cup of tea or coffee and sit down beside the fireplace and watch the video and read through the report. In the process, I hope you will be encouraged by what God has done through your investment.

From all of us on the Board and staff of The Joshua Fund — both here in North America and in Israel — thank you so much for standing with us. We count it a great privilege to serve you in this work.

Yours for blessing Israel and her neighbors in the name of Jesus,

Joel C. Rosenberg

Founder and President, The Joshua Fund

>> If you would like to make a generous, tax-deductible, year-end financial gift to The Joshua Fund, we would be very grateful. You give securely on-line by clicking here.

Or, you can send a check in the mail. Please make your check payable to “The Joshua Fund” and send to:

  • The Joshua Fund
  • PO Box 2589
  • Monument, CO  80132-2589


Joel C. Rosenberg’s Blog

Thank you for your investment! The Joshua Fund’s 2013 Donor Report & video update is now online.

Watch the video message, and read the full report, at www.joshuafund.net.

Watch the video message, and read the full report, at http://www.joshuafund.net.

Dear faithful friend –

Because of you — through your faithful prayers and generous financial support — the Lord has touched the lives of thousands of Jewish and Arab families in the epicenter in real and practical ways with the love of Jesus Christ.

A few examples:

  • By God’s grace, The Joshua Fund provided food and other relief supplies to more than 43,940 poor and needy Jewish and Arab families this year — an increase of more than 4% over 2012.
  • Two new distribution centers have just opened, bringing us to a total of 14 centers distributing relief supplies throughout Israel. We are prayerfully considering opening 2 or 3 new distribution centers in 2014.
  • We have had the honor of helping Christian ministries that are doing relief work among refugees escaping the civil war in Syria.
  • TJF has also planned and funded retreats for pastors and ministry leaders, and provided biblical training, encouragement and refreshment for those serving throughout the epicenter region.

On our website, www.joshuafund.net, we have posted the 2013 Donor Report to give you a sense of the many projects you have helped to fund in 2013, and get a glimpse of the lives the Lord has blessed because of you.

We have also posted a short video message I recently taped sharing some of the highlights of the Donor Report.

I hope you will pour yourself a nice cup of tea or coffee and sit down beside the fireplace and watch the video and read through the report. In the process, I hope you will be encouraged by what God has done through your investment.

From all of us on the Board and staff of The Joshua Fund — both here in North America and in Israel — thank you so much for standing with us. We count it a great privilege to serve you in this work.

Yours for blessing Israel and her neighbors in the name of Jesus,

Joel C. Rosenberg

Founder and President, The Joshua Fund

>> If you would like to make a generous, tax-deductible, year-end financial gift to The Joshua Fund, we would be very grateful. You give securely on-line by clicking here.

Or, you can send a check in the mail. Please make your check payable to “The Joshua Fund” and send to:

The Joshua Fund

PO Box 2589

Monument, CO  80132-2589


Joel C. Rosenberg’s Blog

VAPORIZED: Detroit Obliterates Retirement Funds: 80% Cuts to Pensioners: “This Is Going to Affect Everyone”

detroit-bankrupt

Though a decade ago civil servants and union members would never have believed it could happen, the stark reality of the situation came to pass this morning.

We now know the answer to the question: What happens when a government makes promises it can’t keep and borrows so much money it can never be repaid?

This morning a judge overseeing the City of Detroit’s fiscal sustainability ruled that the City can be afforded bankruptcy protection, meaning that all 100,000 of its creditors now stand to lose a significant portion of monies owed to them.

The most notable victims are the tens of thousands of retirees living off of pensions – many of whom will see an 80% obliteration of the retirement funds they believed they’d receive until they died.

Creditor attorneys have repeatedly speculated they expect Orr’s plan of adjustment to mirror the June 14 proposal he offered creditors to avoid bankruptcy. That deal proposed giving unsecured creditors such as pensioners and bondholders a $ 2 billion note for $ 11.5 billion in estimated debts — or less than 18 cents for every dollar owed.

Most of those affected assumed the government would simply find a way to borrow more money or fabricate it out of thin air. They were wrong and now they are paying the price:

“Oh my, oh my. Everyone is worried. When we think about what could happen, it’s scary,” said Larsen, 85, who moved to Palm Harbor, Fla., outside of Tampa after he retired in 1976.

“If they take our health insurance? Oh god. Cutting pensions? It’s terrible. The city of Detroit was our pride. Honest to goodness. We loved it.”

“We are all worried,” said Nancy Schmidt, the group’s secretary. “This is going to affect everyone in different ways. If it comes to fruition, I’ve got two empty bedrooms and I may end up having to rent them out.”

“My net pension is $ 2,300 a month,” said Kammer, 77, who moved to Englewood, Fla., not long after retiring with a disability in 1977.

“I could make it for a while, go through savings, but pretty soon, I’d end up in bankruptcy.”

“(Retirees) feel like something that they’ve earned and were promised is being taken away from when they’re not in a position in their lives to plan for it and fight back,” Plecha said. “They’re at a time in their lives when they’re most vulnerable.”

Detroit is the first and they have now set a precedent for other cities in similar situations. You can be assured that more will follow.

First it will be the cities. Then the states will go under. And finally, the Grand-Poobah – our own Federal government. Detroit’s debts are pocket change compared to the $ 200 trillion in future liabilities owed by the United States of America.

If you are depending on a government retirement package to be there for you for the rest of your life, you’d better think again. Over twenty thousand Detroit retirees thought the same thing – and as of today they have been wiped out.

When this crisis hits the Federal Government – and it will – you’d better be ready for them to take drastic measures. This means they’ll be forced to not only cut retirement benefits promised to federal employees, but will make the case that if they have to give up their retirement funds, you’ll have to give up your 401k, IRA or personal savings.

Sounds impossible, right? Congressional members have already gotten the ball rolling on a nationalization of America’s retirement funds, and when they are ready to do it they’ll pass the legislation just like they did when they seized 1/6th of our economy by nationalizing health care.

They are coming for the money – YOUR money – because they will be left with no other choice.

If you’re not planning on a secondary income stream or preserving wealth in the form of gold and silver, productive land, or other tangible assets, you’ll end up just like the retirees from Detroit. Having additional resources, like a well stocked long-term pantry and a preparedness plan for financial disaster, can mean the difference between living in poverty or thriving when best laid plans fall apart.

Plan for the worst, because that’s what’s coming.


SHTF Plan – When It Hits The Fan, Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You