West coast labor leaders — that is, the ones who haven’t mysteriously retired, been forced into academia or consultant positions, abruptly stepped down or simply decided to spend more time with their kids rather than battle the Freedom Foundation — continue to dismiss any suggestion their members might be anything less than fully committed to the cause.
Washington Federation of State Employees President Greg Devereux, in a televised debate during October with Freedom Foundation Labor Policy Director Max Nelsen, parroted the same talking point, boasting: “We really haven’t seen that many people opt out. I think they think the union is relevant and does have value, and they’re staying.”
Neither Devereux nor any of his since-departed union brothers and sisters in arms offered much in the way of hard numbers to prove their point, however. And with good reason — they don’t have any.
But we do.
In fact, the Freedom Foundation calculates it has assisted more than 25,000 union members in Washington, Oregon and California in stopping unwanted union dues deductions from their pay in just the four months since the U.S. Supreme Court issued its ruling in Janus v. AFSCME banning mandatory dues and fees in the workplace.
The mass exodus can be attributed to a variety of factors, none of which is cooperation on the unions’ part. In fact, just the opposite is true.
“As we saw in 2014, when the Supreme Court in Harris v. Quinn banned mandatory union payments for childcare and home caregivers, we’re seeing the unions do everything in their power to keep public employees from even knowing about Janus,” Nelsen said.
“But we’ve learned a few lessons, too,” he said.
The Freedom Foundation is the most successful policy organization of its kind because it’s also the most proactive. Rather than watching passively as the union resorted to a misinformation campaign following the Janus ruling, the Freedom Foundation rolled out its battle-tested strategy, a key component of which was thousands of face-to-face visits by paid canvassers to newly freed government employees.
This was supplemented by a sophisticated direct mail, email and social media campaign. When government union refuse to let employees leave, our in-house legal team provides free legal assistance to force unions to follow the law.
No other organization in the nation is as responsible for as many opt-outs as the Freedom Foundation because no one else takes on the unions as directly as we do.
The announcement has started garnering significant attention in the media.
“Unions Bleed $20M Amid Mass Exodus of 25K Workers in Wake of Supreme Court Free Speech Case,” read the headline of a piece in PJ Media reporting on the Freedom Foundation’s work.
A similar headline for an article by the Need to Know Network trumpeted, “One Group is Leading the Assault on Unions After Janus Decision – A think tank in the Pacific Northwest that has become a thorn in the side of big labor union bosses, is making significant strides to undercut union funding since Janus.”
Even Politico picked up on the news. “The Freedom Foundation model involves a lot of hard work, but no one can deny its effectiveness,” Nelsen said. “We look forward to continuing to provide much-needed information and assistance to public employees seeking to end unwanted payments to unions. Given the level of interest we’ve seen from employees so far and how quickly we reached the 25,000 mark, we anticipate helping as many as 50,000 employees out by the end of the year.”