This past summer, the Freedom Foundation’s Oregon office decided to focus the entirety of its outreach efforts on teachers and classified school employees throughout the state. During their summer break, those employees received home visits, mail pieces, emails, texts and saw billboards encouraging them to “take a vacation” (permanently) from their union dues.
Members of the Oregon Education Association (OEA), the Oregon School Employees Association (OSEA), and the Oregon chapter of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT OR), were inundated with information and calls to action regarding their newly affirmed civil right to no longer pay union dues.
As is the case with most of the Freedom Foundation’s endeavors, it was a great success.
All told, throughout the summer campaign the Freedom Foundation helped over 1,000 teachers and classified school staff across the beaver state regain their individual liberty and leave their union.
Two of the three targeted unions have experienced some of the largest membership declines in the nation since the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark 2018 ruling in Janus v. AFSCME, with the OSEA losing 36% of their membership and the Oregon chapter of AFT coming in right behind at a 35% decline, costing them millions of dollars in lost revenue.
All this success is despite the unions’ best efforts to defame the Freedom Foundation and suppress our outreach efforts.
OEA President John Larson has been among the most outspoken union leaders in the state against the Freedom Foundation. He has sent out multiple emails to OEA members attempting to counter our message by attributing false motives to our organization, and he event went as far to submit poorly written testimony to go with his incoherent ramblings against the Freedom Foundation before the Oregon State Legislature in the name of protecting OEA members.
Larson clearly doesn’t give his teacher colleagues enough credit, as most people capable of forming an individual thought can see the only thing he is interested in protecting is his over $200,000-plus OEA salary.
What is now abundantly clear is that as more and more public employees are informed of their rights, they are seeing how union leadership cares less and less about them as members. Public-sector union membership in Oregon and elsewhere along the west coast where the Freedom Foundation operates is showing a clear pattern, and it’s not one the union leaders are a fan of.
However, unless Larson and his cronies make some serious changes, they should fully expect these defection rates to continue to rise as we at the Freedom Foundation continue our mission.