Two weeks ago, Lee Saunders, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), one of the nation’s largest government unions, sent an e-mail to all AFSCME members nationwide and published a blog post warning about the effectiveness of the Freedom Foundation’s campaign to educate public employees about the newly-recognized First Amendment right to make their own choice about union membership. The e-mail went out to approximately 1.6 million public employees and highlighted a few of our methods for communication: “They might be targeting you with ads on your computer,” he wrote. “They might be e-mailing you, sending you mail or calling you on the phone. They might even be showing up at your door.”
AFSCME is just one of the unions worried about our outreach efforts, and we’ve seen public employees from across the nation opt out through our website OptOutToday.com or using resignation forms we’ve mailed or distributed.
One thing’s for certain: AFSCME’s leaders are petrified by our efforts, and they should be. If our outreach to home healthcare and childcare providers freed by the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2014 ruling in Harris v. Quinn is any indication, AFSCME could see significant declines in its membership.
Just ask Kim Cook, former SEIU 925 president, who left after significant losses in her union’s membership.
Tens of thousands of public employees have decided to leave AFSCME nationwide after this summer’s landmark ruling in Janus v. AFSCME. The number includes many who, absent the Freedom Foundation’s help, might never have known about their ability to opt out or how to do so.
No other group in the nation is running a campaign this ambitious, and union leaders like Saunders recognize it. A video released just last week on AFSCME’s YouTube channel also makes attacks our efforts by name.
What Saunders doesn’t realize is that sending out “warnings” like this to his members only draws more attention to our campaign. Since the email, we’ve seen hundreds more AFSCME members opt out with no sign of slowing down.