Union vs Citizens’ Priorities for Early Learning

Union vs Citizens’ Priorities for Early Learning

Union vs Citizens’ Priorities for Early Learning

Union policy goals seldom match citizens’ priorities, and this fall Seattle will see the difference. Union officials will need to campaign against more early-learning services in order to secure union cash flow and higher wages for employees.

The city of Seattle has a policy initiative to expand early-learning services. This proposal will require $15 million in a new property tax levy each year to expand services to some portion of the 3,300 to 4,500 three and four year olds.

Unions are private, special-interest organizations that collect money from employees to advance employee interests. Those interests include higher wages, lower service levels and reduced accountability. 

Union officials also have an even stronger interest in collecting money.

Service Employees International Union Local 925 and the American Federation of Teachers – Washington have introduced an initiative to accomplish both objectives in Seattle. Initiative 107 requires childcare workers to be paid $15 per hour and requires the city to hire SEIU 925 to facilitate communication with and control of childcare workers.

The two unions behind it have already reported spending $414,731 on this ballot initiative.

On June 23, the Seattle City Council acknowledged the city plan and the union plan cannot both go into effect. Voters in November will be allowed to choose one proposal or neither of the proposals — but not both.

Seattle voters will have to decide if city spending should be for expanding services to families, or for the unions’ priorities.

I hope this choice forces Seattle voters to realize that union priorities are regularly at odds with the interests of citizens.

I’m curious to see what kind of advertising campaign the union officials will use to attempt to blur such a clear distinction.

Senior Policy Analyst
Jami Lund is the Freedom Foundation’s Senior Policy Analyst. From 2004 to 2011, he developed legislative policy as a research analyst for the Washington House Republican Caucus. Prior to that he worked for the Freedom Foundation as the Project Manager for the Teachers Paycheck Protection project, shepherding the development of the Foundation’s landmark U.S. Supreme Court case to protect teacher rights. Jami is an accomplished speaker and researcher, one of Washington state’s top scholars on education policy and finance.