Freedom Foundation

HB 2016: Unions’ Latest Love Note to Themselves

It comes as no surprise that during the first legislative session following the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in Janus v. AFSCME, government unions and their pet politicians in both Washington and Oregon are working feverishly to undermine it.

It also comes as no surprise that the latest attempt to do so in Oregon also takes a swipe at the nation’s leading exponent of the values on which the ruling is based — the Freedom Foundation.

House Bill 2016  would, “(r)equire … public employer(s) to grant reasonable paid time to public employee who is designated representative to engage in certain activities.”

In layman’s terms, that means the state — or, more accurately, its taxpayers — must pay the salary of the union’s workplace representative, even though, by definition, his or her loyalty is to the union, not the employer.  A similar conflict of interest would be unthinkable in the private sector, but such is the level of corruption in government that no legislation is too absurd to propose and no arrangement too awkward to impose where the demands of public employee unions are concerned.

Unfortunately, that’s just the tip of the iceberg with HB-2016, which would also:

  • allow employees not represented by a government union to authorize dues deductions to a union;
  • make it easier for government unions to deduct dues while simultaneously making it harder for public employees to cancel dues deductions;
  • require the state to periodically turn over personal employee information that is currently exempt from public disclosure to the union;
  • allow the union to establish what is reasonable conduct for all employees who attend union-related meetings;
  • censor public employers from notifying their employees about Janus;
  • allow government unions the right to use electronic mail systems or other forms of communication of a public employer to communicate with the employees in the bargaining unit; and,
  • make it an unfair labor practice for a public employer to release any email correspondence between the union and employees in a bargaining unit. That way they can message whatever they choose to public employees without fear of it becoming a matter of public record.

More pointedly, the bill also targets the Freedom Foundation by trying to prevent the organization from contacting public employees. The bill states that it is an unfair labor practice for an employer to permit use of its email system by an entity to discourage union membership — for example, notifying them of their constitutional rights.

It would also constitute an unfair labor practice for the employer to do so.

Instead of within 10 days of a new employees hire date and 120 days for all other employees, if the state obtains personal employee information, it must be turned over to the union immediately.

This information would include, but is not limited to:

  • cell, home and work telephone numbers;
  • any means of electronic communication, including work and personal electronic mail addresses; and,
  • home addresses or personal mailing addresses.

There’s little doubt this information is sought by the unions, so they can try to contact all those workers who’ve already opted out in hopes of changing their minds — by any means necessary.

Post-Janus membership losses, not surprisingly, have been massive for Oregon public-sector unions.  SEIU 503, for example, has seen 26 percent of its members defect, while OSEA has lost 31 percent.

Again, the bill also lets the union designate what is appropriate conduct at union-related meetings for public employees. And you can bet your life asking about your constitutional rights under Janus will be deemed as unreasonable conduct.

Bills like this are just a testament to both government union’s fear and corruption. If the Freedom Foundation was as inconsequential as the unions like to boast, would such drastic action be necessary?