Shake-up: Major union cuts ties with United Negro College Fund for Koch brothers donation

UNCFMaking good on a recent threat, a powerful public-sector union severed ties on Tuesday with the United Negro College Fund.

In a letter sent by its president, Lee Saunders, the American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees called the United Negro College Fund’s acceptance of a $25 million grant from the Charles Koch Foundation a “profound betrayal of the ideals of the civil rights movement,” saying it would no longer finance the organization’s Union Scholars Program, BuzzFeed reported.

Since the AFSCME’s mission statement is to promote “fairness in the workplace, excellence in public services and prosperity and opportunity for all working families,” the union should be more offended by U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s obsession with the Koch brothers than helping hundreds of youngsters improve their lot.

Instead, Saunders has picked Reid over the Kochs, saying his decision to cut ties with the United Negro College Fund was also influenced by organization President Michael Lomax’s agreement to speak at a California summit hosted by the Koch brothers. He even vilified the Kochs as “the single most prominent funders of efforts to prevent African Americans from voting.”

Lomax responded by telling BuzzFeed that the United Negro College Fund’s 100,000 donors believe in helping minority students go to college, without a litmus test of who contributes to the cause.

“While I am saddened by AFSCME’s decision, it will not distract us from our mission of helping thousands of African American students achieve their dream of a college degree and the economic benefits that come with it,” his statement read.

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Richard Berkow

Former political news reporter Richard Berkow lost his idealism in the Kennedy years, and his innocence in Vietnam, Lebanon, and the Soviet Union. He hasn’t mellowed since, and can be harassed at [email protected]

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