Would you be shocked if someone told you most unions were extremely politically active during the 2020 general election and the following Georgia senate runoff races? No. You’d probably laugh in the face of anyone who tried to tell you otherwise.
It might very well surprise you, though, to discover that not every union member wants it to be this way. Many — perhaps most — union members expect their hard-earned dues dollars to be spent exclusively to improve wages, benefits and working conditions, not line the pockets of candidates 3,000 miles away and embrace causes that have nothing to do with workplace concerns.
If you’re a member of SEIU 1000, the largest union of state employees in California, and happy with your union’s spending habits, you’re the exception, not the rule.
Back in November, SEIU Local 1000 bragged on Facebook that SEIU “turned out the vote” by making 39 million calls, 80 million texts, and knock(ing) on 2 million doors. It’s unclear if those numbers refer specifically to SEIU Local 1000 or the union nationwide, but members weren’t having it regardless.
“How much money??” one woman demanded, referring to how much dues money was spent paying canvassers to knock on doors and make phone calls.
“You have failed to protect your own members. Go home,” SEIU 1000 member said.
“You wasted your time OUR time and OUR money fighting for this, you freaking losers!” thundered yet another outraged union member. “This is why you guys have people opting out left and right. You guys are absolutely worthless!!”
While unions are widely known to participate in national electoral politics, the next example is a bit odder. SEIU Local 1000 was also active in the Georgia Senate runoff races and used its membership as a phone bank to campaign for liberal politicians across the continental United States.
One SEIU 1000 member asked, “This is what my union dues are going towards?” while posting a screenshot of the request by SEIU Local 1000.
Yup, that’s what your union dues are going toward.
Even if you expect SEIU’s national office to have a hand in local politics, you couldn’t possibly understand how a local branch of SEIU could involve itself in national politics all the way across the country. But if you’ve been following the saga of SEIU 1000, which has lost thousands of members over the last year, you might not be surprised.
“Tell me what SEIU is endorsing so I can do the opposite” has never felt like a better piece of advice, and we couldn’t agree more.