Thanks to the long-awaited U.S. Supreme Court decision in Janus vs. AFSCME, government workers in Oregon are finally free to cease all payments to their unions. On Monday, the Freedom Foundation took to downtown Salem to spread the good news. A team of 10 canvassers was stationed across four of the largest government buildings in the Capitol mall area.
They were equipped with signs and SEIU-specific information packets on the Janus case, including opt out forms.
SEIU had apparently caught wind of our efforts to inform union members of their rights, and a noisy gaggle of purple-clad counter protesters awaited our arrival at 7 a.m. The leader of the group welcomed a group of canvassers outside the Department of Human Services building by shouting questions in their faces and filming their every move on her cell phone.
The clamor of SEIU’s hacks only drew more workers to our station, allowing us to reach more people with important fact-based information on their newly recognized rights as public employees.
In response to the simple act of handing out informational packets and candy, our canvassers were treated to endless obscenities by SEIU’s counter-protesters. The vast majority of these insults are too obscene to be reprinted, but our readers can probably make a pretty good guess as to the vapid, foul and uncreative rhetoric spewed by union representatives the entirety of the day.
Over the course of the day, a pattern formed. For every few hostile responses to our presence, there was a worker thrilled to see us sharing facts on workers’ new freedoms. A worker, often, feeling frustrated and under-represented by the venomously liberal positions taken by the unions they had been forced to pay into for their entire tenure as a public employee.
Several employees hand-delivered signed opt-out forms to us within hours of receiving our information packets. We also received several reports by canvassers of workers taking a packet on their way by, then returning to take several more for their colleagues to review and opt out of SEIU.
One man who had long worked at the Department of Human Services told a canvasser he hadn’t felt represented by his union in decades, since they abandoned worker representation and took on a focus on extremist leftist politics.
He was thrilled to learn of his ability to cease payments, stating, “Everything they put money into is something I disagree with politically. It’s just not for me. I’m going to tell my friends at work because they all feel the same way.”
Monday’s event was a pilot program for new outreach methods in the state of Oregon. The day’s success means that similar events will be held across the state in the coming months.
Unions aren’t going to inform their own members of their rights to cease the forced dues payments. That’s why the Freedom Foundation has tasked itself with reaching every public employee in the state with our simple message: You now have the freedom to choose where your hard-earned money goes.
So far, that message has proven powerful, and we’re just getting started.
Freedom Foundation Oregon Director Aaron Withe also held a press conference on Monday announcing the post-Janus outreach and answering questions from reporters.
The press conference can be viewed here.