If unions get to address new state workers, the Freedom Foundation should, too

If unions get to address new state workers, the Freedom Foundation should, too

If unions get to address new state workers, the Freedom Foundation should, too

This week, the Freedom Foundation requested the Washington Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) provide it with an opportunity to address employees during the new employee orientation process.

Pursuant to state law and the collective bargaining agreement between the State of Washington and the Washington Federation of State Employees (WFSE), union organizers are provided with 30 minutes’ access to employees during their on-boarding.

Earlier in the month, the Freedom Foundation released leaked video footage showing how WFSE organizers use these captive audience meetings to disparage the Freedom Foundation by name and try to pressure and manipulate employees into signing up for union membership.

The Freedom Foundation’s letter to L&I director Joel Sacks asks for only 15 minutes – half the time allotted to WFSE – to provide new hires with information about their constitutional right to make their own decisions about union membership and dues payment, as recognized by the U.S. Supreme Court in Janus v. AFSCME (2018).

The letter notes that L&I’s failure to grant the Freedom Foundation’s request could leave the agency open to charges of engaging in unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination and requests a response within 30 days.

A copy of the letter is available below.

Director of Research and Government Affairs
As the Freedom Foundation’s Director of Research and Government Affairs, Maxford Nelsen leads the team working to advance the Freedom Foundation’s mission through strategic research, public policy advocacy, and labor relations. Max regularly testifies on labor issues before legislative bodies and his research has formed the basis of several briefs submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court. Max’s work has been published in local newspapers around the country and in national outlets like the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, The Hill, National Review, and the American Spectator. His work on labor policy issues has been featured in media outlets like the New York Times, Fox News, and PBS News Hour. He is a frequent guest on local radio stations like 770 KTTH and 570 KVI. From 2019-21, Max was a presidential appointee to the Federal Service Impasses Panel within the Federal Labor Relations Authority, which resolves contract negotiation disputes between federal agencies and labor unions. Prior to joining the Freedom Foundation in 2013, Max worked for WashingtonVotes.org and the Washington Policy Center and interned with the Heritage Foundation. Max holds a labor relations certificate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and graduated magna cum laude from Whitworth University with a bachelor’s degree in political science. A Washington native, he lives in Olympia with his wife and sons.