The tactics used by Oregon AFSCME Council 75 to keep its members in the dark while ensuring it maintains every bit of power possible seemingly know no bounds.
Beginning last year, a member of one of the AFSCME local unions requested a list of his fellow union members from AFSCME 75 in order to communicate with them about various matters pertinent to union membership. As a nonprofit corporation, Oregon law required AFSCME 75 to provide a copy of the membership list to any member of the organization requesting it for such purposes.
After 10 months of stonewalling and denials, the requestor had no choice but to pursue legal remedies to try to force AFSCME 75 to turn over the membership list. Rather than risk even the slightest chance it might have to disclose the information to one of its own members, however, AFSCME 75 began proceedings to change its entire corporate structure to sidestep the disclosure requirements applicable to nonprofit corporations under Oregon law.
The union quickly pulled together a vote of the membership – though its leaders had no intention of letting the vote turn out any way other than in favor of unincorporating.
The cost of the election – several hundred thousand dollars – was of course absorbed by the membership to whom the union was scheming to become even less accountable than it already was.
Adding insult to financial injury, AFSCME 75 then tried to redefine the term “membership,” arguing in court that while a person might be a union member, that didn’t make them a member of the nonprofit corporation known as AFSCME 75.
The folks paying dues to AFSCME locals might be surprised to know this is how their State organization feels about them.
AFSCME 75 took these actions not so much because they feared one disaffected member but because they fear the Freedom Foundation – a fact acknowledged in a court hearing held on Jan. 25.
The judge accused the union’s lawyer of not wanting to provide the membership list because AFSCME 75 leaders knew the person requesting it was hoping to work with the Freedom Foundation once he obtained it.
The attorney readily admitted this, responding, “Oh, certainly.”
The union’s fear of the Freedom Foundation is well-founded. Our organization, through the continued support of its generous donors, has been able to move forward with our efforts to hold unions like AFSCME 75 accountable and to ensure individual liberty is protected.