Freedom Foundation

Decline-to-sign push ensures public employees get more information and options

Since the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling during June in Janus v. AFSCME, public-sector unions have become desperate, even resorting to bullying new public employees into signing membership cards with deceptive fine print.

SEIU 503’s membership card, for example, states that the membership is “irrevocable.” Meanwhile, AFSCME only allows a 10-day window in which a member might be able to opt out — an opportunity that arrives after their first year of membership.

Currently, the unions are frightened and attempting to make it as hard as possible for their members to leave.

In the past, the Freedom Foundation has led a “decline-to-sign” campaign targeting new home healthcare workers at their orientations. While at these orientations, union reps are permitted to deliver a bogus spiel and then coerce the new Medicaid employees to sign nearly irrevocable union membership cards authorizing unions to skim dues from their paychecks.

While union reps use these events as an opportunity to deceive home healthcare providers, the Freedom Foundation sees them as a forum to present facts. Notifying workers of their rights under Harris v. Quinn, can help ensure workers make an informed decision before putting their signature on a membership agreement.

The Freedom Foundation once again saw an opportunity to end this quagmire, and that is by launching a decline-to-sign campaign targeted at new public employees across the state.

Last week, the Oregon office sent out messaging to thousands of public employees recently hired by the state. The material not only notified them of their new-found constitutional rights under Janus, but also warned them to be aware of the the deceitful language on the membership cards.

Our experience in the four years since Harris has shown that too few public employees are aware of their right to leave the union. And in the two months since Janus, unions are employing the same strategy of suppression and misinformation.

Many workers are misled into believing they have no choice but to support a union, and are warned that if they do opt out, their health insurance, for example, will cost $400 a month instead of $40.

These lies, of course, come from their union reps desperate to maintain a status quo that no longer exists.

With the decline-to-sign campaign, we will see a new wave of public employees not signing union membership cards and going their whole career in the public sector without having to pay union dues.

In time, public-sector employees will see through the lies that their union reps told them about opting out. This realization will not only lead current union members to opt out, but also encourage new employees to not join in the first place.

Decline-to-sign could begin a domino effect of both new and longtime public employees exercising their constitutional rights.