Non-profit

Center for Independent Employees

Website:

centerforindependentemployees.org

Location:

Spartanburg, NC

Tax ID:

26-0005176

Budget (2018):

Revenue: $737,386
Expenses: $708,810
Assets: $26,956

Type:

Non-profit

Formation:

2002

Executive Director:

Jared Rodriguez

Executive Director's Salary:

$83,850[14]

The Center for Independent Employees (CIE) is a non-partisan, non-profit organization that provides free legal aid to employees who do not wish to participate in their workplace’s union. [1]Top of FormBottom of Form

The Center for Independent Employees is an associate member of the State Policy Network, a coalition of free-market state-level policy organizations. [2] While CIE is non-partisan, a member of its staff has affiliations with the Republican Party.

Activity

The Center for Independent Employees (CIE) is a non-partisan, non-profit organization that provides free legal aid to employees who do not wish to participate in their workplace’s union. CIE aims to protect the rights of individual employees to protect America’s free enterprise system. [3]

The Center for Independent Employees was established in 2001 to provide free legal aid to independent employees, the only group in a workplace that does not have formal legal representation. CIE aims to protect independent employees’ rights that it claims are threatened by both unions and politicians, reduce the influence of unions over employees and politicians, and stop union dues from funding politicians and political causes. [4]

The Center for Independent Employees does not provide information on its case history, but rather gives the example of a long-term employee who opposes a union-organizing drive at his workplace. This employee does not want representation from this union for personal reasons, perhaps religious, political, or economic. Under federal labor law, the employer cannot help the employee oppose the union or provide legal council to assist the employee in opposing the union. CIE recommends that the employer should refer the employee to its free legal aid, so the worker may remain an independent employee and not be forced into union membership. [5]

According to claims from left-of-center media like The Intercept and Democracy Now!, the Center for Independent Employees was hired in January 2021 by Amazon to convince employees not to join the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) at its warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama. [6]

In 2020, the Center for Independent Employees was one of many right-leaning organizations that signed a letter to the U.S. Senate and the Senate Committee on the Judiciary supporting Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court. Other signing organizations include the Heritage Foundation, the Institute for Liberty, and the American Conservative Union. [7]

Center for Independent Employees president Russell Brown was a panelist at a 2019 event held by the Competitive Enterprise Institute and the Institute for the American Worker that focused on opposing the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, a major proposed expansion of labor union power and authority. These groups, along with other panelists from groups like Americans for Prosperity, the Center for Worker Freedom, and the Mackinac Center for Public Policy claim that the PRO Act would change state and national-level labor relation laws, negatively impacting worker choice and creating a “destructive economic effect.” [8]

Funding

The Center for Independent Employees is funded by donations from individuals, foundations, and corporations. While CIE does not disclose its donors, tax filings show donations from Americans for Prosperity, which contributed in 2017. [9]

People

Jared Rodriguez is the executive director of the Center for Independent Employees. Rodriguez formerly worked as the CEO and president of the West Michigan Policy Forum, senior vice president of the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce, president and spokesperson of Protecting Michigan Taxpayers, and finance director of the Michigan House Republican Campaign Committee. [10]

Russell Brown is the president of CIE, as an adjunct fellow with the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and CEO of RWP Labor. [11] Brown formerly served as the chair of the Florida Center-Right Coalition. [12]

Rusty Brown is the vice president of CIE and was a policy advisor to the Department of Labor in the Trump administration. Brown formerly served as the vice president of RWP Labor. [13]

References

  1. “What We Do.” Center for Independent Employees. Accessed March 16, 2021. https://centerforindependentemployees.org/what-we-do. ^
  2. “The Network: South Carolina.” State Policy Network, 2021. Accessed March 16, 2021. https://spn.org/directory/#SC. ^
  3. “What We Do.” Center for Independent Employees. Accessed March 16, 2021. https://centerforindependentemployees.org/what-we-do. ^
  4. “What We Do.” Center for Independent Employees. Accessed March 16, 2021. https://centerforindependentemployees.org/what-we-do. ^
  5. “Case Study.” Center for Independent Employees. Accessed March 16, 2021. https://centerforindependentemployees.org/casestudy. ^
  6. Fang, Lee. “Amazon Hired Koch-Backed Anti-Union Consultant to Fight Alabama Warehouse Organizing.” The Intercept, February 10, 2021. Accessed March 21, 2021. https://theintercept.com/2021/02/10/amazon-alabama-union-busting-koch/. ^
  7. Letter to Members of the U.S. Senate and the Senate Committee on the Judiciary. Committee on the Judiciary, October 8, 2020. Accessed March 21, 2021. https://www.judiciary.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Americans%20for%20Prosperity%2010.7.20.pdf. ^
  8. “The Case against the PRO Act.” Competitive Enterprise Institute, September 26, 2019. Accessed March 21, 2021. https://cei.org/event/the-case-against-the-pro-act/. ^
  9. Americans for Prosperity, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990), 2017, Schedule I, Part II. ^
  10. “Jared Rodriguez.” LinkedIn, 2021. Accessed March 16, 2021. https://www.linkedin.com/in/jared-rodriguez-07858b1/. ^
  11. “Russ Brown.” RWP Labor, 2021. Accessed March 16, 2021. https://www.rwplabor.com/consultant-bios/russ-brown/. ^
  12. “Russ Brown.” LinkedIn, 2021. Accessed March 16, 2021. https://www.linkedin.com/in/russbrown1/. ^
  13. “Rusty Brown.” LinkedIn, 2021. Accessed March 21, 2021/ https://www.linkedin.com/in/rusty-brown-14320576/. ^
  14. Center for Independent Employees, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990), 2018, Part VII, Section A, Line 1a. ^

Coalition Memberships

  1. State Policy Network (SPN)
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: July 1, 2002

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2018 Dec Form 990 $737,386 $708,810 $26,956 $42 N $737,383 $0 $3 $146,433 PDF
    2017 Dec Form 990 $823,099 $1,039,319 $1,507 $3,169 N $823,075 $0 $24 $241,850 PDF
    2016 Dec Form 990 $928,988 $1,140,960 $214,600 $42 N $928,878 $0 $110 $314,719
    2015 Dec Form 990 $900,040 $493,671 $426,572 $42 N $900,000 $0 $40 $253,124 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990EZ $166,000 $151,858 $20,203 $42 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2013 Dec Form 990EZ $58,560 $57,885 $6,061 $42 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2012 Dec Form 990EZ $31,152 $25,454 $5,386 $42 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2011 Dec Form 990EZ $11,014 $16,236 $1 $354 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Center for Independent Employees

    PO BOX 2421
    Spartanburg, NC 29304-2421