Freedom Foundation

Freedom Foundation Campaign Highlights Unions Political Contributions with Dues Dollars

In the days leading up to Super Tuesday, members of the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees Local 75 (AFSCME 75) and the Oregon School Employees Association (OSEA) received pieces of mail and emails using the union’s own words to showcase their lies.

Government unions, which have traditionally been political powerhouses for the left, have long claimed their political contributions do not come from dues dollars but rather from a separate PAC to which members can decide to voluntarily contribute.

Don’t believe it.

While it’s true most unions do have a separate political action fund that members can opt to contribute to in addition to their regular membership dues, the notion that they don’t spend any dues dollars on politics is demonstrably false.

Government unions today have only two objectives — raising taxes and growing government.

They will do anything and everything in their power to achieve those goals, including lying and using their members’ hard-earned money on electioneering to ensure left-wing liberals are put into office to do their bidding.

Thousands of Oregon’s AFSCME members were informed that their union was fined by state officials in Washington for illegally concealing more than $81 million in political contributions taken directly from membership dues.

Similarly, OSEA’s own training document instructs staff to tell members that “(D)ues money is not used for political contributions … members voluntarily make a separate contribution to our political action fund.”

Members were less than pleased to learn of the OSEA’s $40,000 contribution to three of Oregon’s leading liberals — Gov. Kate Brown, House Speaker Tina Kotek and former Democrat Majority Leader Jennifer Williamson — as highlighted in the union’s LM-2 report filed with the Federal Department of Labor.

In addition to opt-outs and outrage, these pieces of mail seemed to have struck a particular chord with union members. It’s one thing to discover you were lied to, but it’s something entirely different to know that the group who is supposedly charged with looking out for your best interests has been taking your money and using it to advance political causes that are directly at odds with your personal beliefs.

It is precisely for this reason that Oregon’s government unions have seen some of the biggest membership defections in the entire nation. OSEA in particular, has seen nearly 40 percent of its members leave in just the 20 short months since the U.S. Supreme Court in Janus v. AFSCME, which affirmed public employees’ constitutional right to opt out of government union dues.

Until union leaders decide to care about public employees as much as they do about partisan politics and paying their cushy six-figure salaries, they can expect membership to continue to decline.