For the past year, public employees at California’s second-largest university have been the subject of an outreach blitz with the goal of informing every union member on campus about their right to drop their union membership and stop paying dues.
As a direct result of these efforts, nearly 100 UCLA employees are leaving their union each month, a number projected to double perhaps by the end of the summer.
Prior to the Freedom Foundation’s outreach, that figure was only about 10 per year.
The campaign was launched in July 2021, when the Freedom Foundation filed a request under California’s Public Records Act for contact information of all unionized UCLA employees. In October, after months of wrangling and missed deadlines, the organization filed a lawsuit to retain the information.
UCLA authorities eventually agreed to a settlement under which the Freedom Foundation was given the name, address, date of birth, email address and phone number, etc., for more than 41,000 university employees.
We had been expecting only about 29,000.
Direct mail and email outreach to these employees began in April 2022 and will continue through June. The workers will be exposed to a variety of materials tailored to their unique employment situation, each letting them know their right to part ways with their union was affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court in its 2018 ruling in Janus v. AFSCME.
The workers will also be told they cannot be sanctioned for opting out and that, by law, the union must still represent them even when they are no longer a dues-paying member.
For the past 10 months, the Freedom Foundation has maintained a steady canvassing program, with team members on campus three to five days per week speaking with university staff face to face.
While on campus, these canvassers stand outside various buildings at high-traffic times to ensure the greatest number of potential interactions.
During these meetings, UCLA employees are informed of their option to leave the union. They discuss frequently asked questions about what happens after they leave and are given all the resources needed to successfully opt out of union dues.
Because we have maintained a regular presence on campus, UCLA workers have grown very comfortable speaking to our team and even spreading the word themselves to their colleagues.
Canvassing has been a key component to our success in opting out workers on campus.
In addition to canvassing, the Freedom Foundation has also been running a digital ad campaign on campus.
Through IP targeting and geofencing, we are able to have OptOutToday.com advertisements pop up on every computer and mobile device on campus through thousands of different websites.
Each ad is done in UCLA colors, speaking specifically to UCLA employees with direct links to a page where they can opt out of their union immediately.
Over a span of nine months, these ads have appeared on a UCLA campus device 2.5 million times.
Our campaign is clearly working, as the 11,900% increase in union resignations only continues month over month.