Under the Dome

GOP tries to tie unions to protest funding

The N.C. GOP has been trying to build a case that the Moral Monday protest movement is funded by big out-of-state unions. On Monday, it launched a website – ImmoralMondays.com — where it lays out its argument by posting federal financial disclosure documents.

The Republican party also held a news conference outside the federal courthouse in Winston-Salem, where a voting rights case began Monday, to promote the theme.

MONDAY UPDATE: Monday evening the GOP released videos of a woman and a man who were among the protesters in Winston-Salem who identified themselves as members of Service Employees International Union Local 1199 from New York City, and wore T-shirts with that logo.

The woman said the union had put participants up in a nearby hotel Sunday, and they were traveling back Monday night.

"Rev. Barber and 'Immoral Mondays' have been bought and paid for by the big out-of-state labor unions, who want to impose their big-government agenda on North Carolina, and now we have the proof," Todd Poole, executive director of the state Republican Party, said in a statement emailed sent to Dome. "The reality is that 'Immoral Mondays' is a front for the biggest out-of-state unions to launch ceaseless attacks against Governor McCrory and Republican leaders.”

Those records show the SEIU sent $1.5 million to a group called the Carolina Workers Organizing Committee in 2014, which in turn shared $1.1 million of that with Action N.C., a group that advocates on behalf of the poor. That money was targeted for “payroll services.” The GOP called Action N.C. “one of the lead groups behind Moral Mondays” and said the disclosures show that unions are paying protesters.

Action N.C. says the GOP claims are “ludicrious” and “off-the-wall”:

▪ The payroll services are payment on a contract it has with SEIU to provide payroll and human resources services to the Carolina Workers Organizing Committee, it says.

▪ Action N.C. says it has no financial connection to the NAACP, its state leader Rev. William Barber, or the Moral Monday movement. It calls the claim “flattering” but “completely false.”

▪ Action N.C. says it doesn’t pay anyone to protest, it says. It is a non-profit group with six full-time staff and some part-timers in three offices with a budget of less than $500,000.

The records also show that Barber received $20,000 from four different unions last year. The payments were for speaking engagements at out-of-state events, which can be seen on YouTube.

An anti-union group has described groups like the Carolina Workers Organizing Committee as fake grassroots organizations that are fronts for the SEIU.

TUESDAY UPDATE: A representative of the Carolina Workers Organizing Committee said Tuesday it has never paid anyone to participate in any protests, including Moral Mondays. The committee advocates for higher wages and union rights for child-care workers, home-care workers and fast-food workers in this state, South Carolina and Virginia, operating in eight cities.