Open Letter From GOP Lawmaker Challenges Validity Of SEIU 503 Election

Open Letter From GOP Lawmaker Challenges Validity Of SEIU 503 Election

Open Letter From GOP Lawmaker Challenges Validity Of SEIU 503 Election

In an open letter sent to SEIU 503, Rep. Mike Nearman (R-Independence) is challenging the union’s executive director to prove its April 17 membership vote was “conducted in a fair and ethical manner.”

Citing both the union’s misleading intent in holding the vote and the suspiciously low voter turnout, Nearman’s letter asks SEIU 503 to produce records of the ballots mailed to union members and a verification of the alleged vote count.

As previously reported, the April 17 vote was a last-ditch effort by SEIU 503 to keep the union’s membership list and financial records away from its own members, who had a statutory right to inspect the information. Facing unrelenting legal pressure from those members – and driven by its self-inflicted fear of the Freedom Foundation – SEIU 503 chose to revoke its nonprofit status under state law.

Nearman’s letter notes that the corporate status change “has resulted in thousands of employees losing their rights under Oregon law” and expresses skepticism that SEIU’s members would have approved the organizational changes if they had known the true consequences of the action.

The letter also criticizes SEIU 503 leaders for boasting about the success of the vote, pointing out that less than 15 percent of their members even participated.

Read the full letter here.

SEIU 503 hasn’t yet responded to Nearman’s inquiry, which he provided to the Freedom Foundation after sending it to the union earlier this month.

While nobody should hold their breath waiting for a response, we’ll certainly pass along the news should SEIU 503 decide to prove – or attempt to prove – the legitimacy of its actions by providing Nearman with the requested information.

Until then, and unfortunately for the thousands of union members who lost their rights as a result, the validity of SEIU 503’s vote remains up for debate.

Research & Government Affairs Associate
Ben Straka serves as a Research and Government Affairs Associate for the Freedom Foundation, where his responsibilities include an array of policy research and reform efforts aimed at supporting the organization’s mission through legislative advocacy and public policy expertise. His work has been published in various local news outlets throughout the Pacific Northwest and the country, and he has appeared as a guest on radio programs such as The Lars Larson Show, among others. He has regularly testified before the Oregon State Legislature on matters of labor policy and government transparency, has advised local government leaders on labor relations, and has represented employees in administrative proceedings under the state’s collective bargaining laws. Ben first joined the Freedom Foundation in 2016, and holds additional professional experience in the fields of real estate development and construction. He is a native of Eugene, Ore. and a graduate of Corban University, where he studied political science and business. He lives in Oregon with his wife.