Resources For Organized Labor and Working People

Right-wing attacks on organized labor and working people are nothing new. This page is a starting point for connecting to resources and conducting research into this problem.

Recognize that the Right is a complex movement.

No one organization “controls” the Right. No single funder is “behind” the Right. Some large organizations are important, but many others appear to be more influential than they really are. Recognize that there are multiple networks of organizations and funders with differing and sometimes competing agendas. Find out as much as you can about the groups you see. Incorporate this information in your educational work.  It is helpful in organizing to know a great deal about your opponents.  Be alert to evidence of the Right’s “new racism.” The Right has replaced simple racist rhetoric with a more complex, “colorblind” political agenda which actually attacks the rights of people of color.

This advice is from the PRA flyer "Ground Rules & Tips for Challenging the Right."


Fast Starters:

The Right Wing Attack on the American Labor Movement
by Joanne Ricca, Wisconsin State AFL-CIO

Harvard Trade Union Program (HTUP)
The HTUP collection of links pages for labor

ZNET Labor Watch by Elaine Bernard, Dan Swinney, & Carl Davidson
(See especially the archive of articles)

General Web Links

Guide to Labor Oriented Internet Resources Institute of Industrial Relations Library, University of California, Berkeley


Labor Net's Extensive List of Links:  Union Directory; Labor, Employment & Government; Statistics & Resources; Labor News Publications; Labor - Relevant Legislation & Legal Information; Labor Cartoons, Art, Video, Radio, Culture, History; Mainstream But Useful News Sources; International Labor Information; Other Excellent Labor Resource Sites; General References
Labor Research Association
Researching Labor and Corporation Links Page: UMASS Labor Relations and Research Center


Privatization: The Public Pays
Union Network International

Anti-Union / Anti-Labor / Anti-Regulation

National Right to Work Committee Anti-union propaganda with a nasty tone.
Heritage Foundation Conservative pro-business.
Cato Institute Libertarian, anti-regulation, darwinian economic analysis
American Enterprise Institute Big business, anti-regulation, darwinian economic analysis.

Research Studies

The Real Story Behind 'Paycheck Protection'
The Hidden Link Between Anti-Worker and Anti-Public Education Initiatives:  An Anatomy of the Far Right.  Washington, DC: National Education Association, 1998.

    Well-researched and extremely useful, this report is a welcome contribution from the labor movement—a sector long targeted and vilified by the Right. The sections “The State-based Assault” and “State Battlegrounds” are good companion pieces to understand, through the use of case studies, how the State Policy Network operates. Also valuable is the guide to State Policy Network Members which gives profiles of each organizational member in a state-by-state format. The precision of the report, however, is somewhat marred by the author’s tendency to use inflammatory rhetoric to describe the conservative movement. To obtain copies, contact:  NEA Communication, 1201 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036
The Assault on Working Families
by the Public Policy Department of AFSCME. Washington, DC: American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO, 1998.
    In addition to the standard, albeit important, descriptions of  conservative policy organizations, this report has some practical appendices. Included are an analysis of state-based and regional research and policy analysis groups and samples of model state legislation that move the anti-labor, anti-working family, anti-government agenda of the American Legislative Exchange Council. Order driectly from AFSCME.

    From 03/23/98  AFSCME Leader:



      The same groups that have tried to kill minimum wage increases, gut workplace safety laws, promote privatization, create management-run “unions” and pass “right-to-work” laws — undermining unions and all workers — are spending $149 million to pass phony “paycheck protection” measures across the country. We call them “Paycheck Deception” laws.

      These laws would force unions to get advance approval from individual union members to use dues for “political purposes” — in other words, to stand up for working people in the American political system. But corporations would remain free to give millions of dollars to their friends in government, without the permission of their stockholders. Big Business already outspends unions 11-to-1.

      Big Business doesn’t want working Americans to have a voice in politics. Big Business wants to buy laws that give them profit protection — and knock out anyone who tries to get in their way.

      America's working families have to act now to save
      their right to speak out through their union.

    Online overviews

Privatization: The Public Pays, by AFSCME
"All across America AFSCME members are up against the threat of privatization of the services they provide."

"From public works and public assistance to environmental protection and correctional facilities, corporations are trying to seize control of public services of all kinds. They’re winning the support of elected officials eager to score political points by cutting government payrolls and to raise campaign funds by befriending wealthy contributors. And they’re supported by a new breed of right-wing ideologues who are working overtime to convince the country that private companies can do everything better than the public sector."

"This coordinated campaign to privatize government at every level far exceeds anything we’ve seen in the past — including the efforts at "contracting-out" which AFSCME has observed and opposed for decades. And, while contracting-out used to be promoted by home-grown, "mom and pop" operations, today’s privatizers are more likely to be huge multinational corporations.:


About the Right-Wing Policy Network

Buying a Movement: Right-Wing Foundations and American Politics, (Washington, DC: People for the American Way, 1996).

Sally Covington, Moving A Public Policy Agenda:  The Strategic Philanthropy of Conservative Foundations, Washington, DC: National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, July 1997.
Online excerpts at Media Transparency.

    Extensively researched and sharply analytical, this report documents the important role conservative foundations have played in building the infrastructure of the Right and influencing public policy at the national, state and local level. Covington analyzes 12 key foundation’s grant-making programs and the missions, activities, staff and boards of grantees. The report includes sections on types of institutions supported; strategic funding; how philanthropic resources have been mobilized; and the institutional, ideological and public policy impact of this conservative philanthropy.
David Callahan, $1 Billion for Ideas: Conservative Think Tanks in the 1990s, Washington, DC: National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, March 1999.
    This report focuses on the top twenty conservative policy institutes of the 1990s. In addition to the well-known Heritage Foundation, Cato Institute and the American Enterprise Institute, Callahan examines seventeen less-known think tanks. The report includes sections on: how conservative think tanks have expanded their influence in the 1990s; how they operate both in terms of policy research, marketing and change at the state and local levels; how they are supported; and how they are structured internally. Of particular interest is Callahan’s analysis of the Right’s victories in 5 policy areas: welfare; Social Security and Medicare; deregulation and the environment; taxes; and education.

Useful Groups:

    Political Research Associates
    1310 Broadway, Suite 201, Somerville, MA 02144. 671/666-5300. fax: 617/666-6622
    Extensive eighteen-year file and publication archive on right-wing movements ranging from New Right to white supremacist groups. Publishes a newsletter, The Public Eye. Extensive publications list.

    Institute for Democracy Studies
    177 East 87th Street, Suite 501, New York, NY 10128. 212/423-9237. fax: 212/423-9352
    Timely topical reports.

    National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy
    2001 S St., NW, Suite 620, Washington, DC 20009. 202-387-9177 (Voice), 202-332-5084 (Fax)
    The National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy has been at the forefront in tracking and analyzing the growth and influence of conservative public policy-making.  They have published three important reports.

    1904 Franklin Street, Suite 900, Oakland, CA 94612, 510/835-4692, fax: 510/835-3017
    Research by contract into a variety of topics with special expertise in corporations and current political issues. Large collection of clippings and specialized computer skills for searching electronic databases. Write for complete resource list.

    People for the American Way
    2000 M Street, NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC 20036, 202/467-4999, fax: 202/293-2672
    Has several reports and press releases on the rise of the Religious Right and homophobic campaigns. Resources include a newsletter, Right-Wing Watch and a videotape, The Religious Right, Then and Now. Extensive publications list.


How did the political right gain so much power so quickly? We think the book by Himmelstein is a good place to start:
  • Jerome L. Himmelstein, To The Right: The Transformation of American Conservatism, (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990).
Other useful books:
  • Jean Hardisty, Mobilizing Resentment: Conservative Resurgence from the John Birch Society to the Promise Keepers. (Boston: Beacon Press, 1999).
  • Chip Berlet, ed., Eyes Right! Challenging the Right Wing Backlash, (Boston: South End Press, 1995).
  • Chip Berlet & Matthew N. Lyons, Right-Wing Populism in America: Too Close for Comfort. (New York: Guilford Press, 2000).
  • Sara Diamond, Roads to Dominion: Right–Wing Movements and Political Power in the United States, (New York: Guilford, 1995).
  • Clarence Y. H. Lo and Michael Schwartz, eds., Social Policy and the Conservative Agenda, (Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishers, 1998).


Political Research Associates

Check PRA Studying Right-wing Funding & Policy-Making
Foundations & Funding: Web Resources
Links to Conservative and Right-wing Groups
Directory of Right-wing Groups & their Allies
Web Research Resources
Topical Contents of PRA's Public Eye Website

See Also:

A Just Foreign Policy
Economic Justice
Organized Labor and Working People
Repression, Civil Liberties, Security for Activists
Study the Right


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