Freedom Foundation

SEIU 503 Beats Chest Over Wage Increases

In Oregon, SEIU 503 recently negotiated its first contract with the Oregon Department of Administrative Services since the landmark 2018 U.S. Supreme Court rulings in Janus v. AFSCME that allows public employees to opt out of union dues and fees and still keep their job.

In this new contract, the union pushed for a 10 to 15 percent pay raise and the state — represented almost exclusively by Democrats who’ve accepted thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from public-sector unions happily complied.

Following the agreement, SEIU 503 leaders lauded the wage increase, describing it as a historic moment in the state’s history and gave credit to strong union support from their members in the wake of Janus.

But let’s take a closer look.

First, SEIU 503 has suffered catastrophic membership losses — more than a quarter of the state employees it represents — in just a year since the Janus decision. Although the union claims its membership has been increasing, hard numbers from the state say otherwise.

Meanwhile, the pay raise would not have been possible had the Legislature not set aside $200 million for salary increases — no doubt as a life preserver to keep the Left’s struggling benefactors afloat at taxpayer expense.

In reality, the wage increase is a self-serving effort by the union. State employees represented by SEIU 503 pay dues based on a percentage of their wages. When their pay increases, so do their dues deductions — thus increasing the union’s revenue, as well.

The union is then able to funnel truckloads of Oregon workers’ dollars to various political campaigns and candidates. And rest assured, once elected these lawmakers don’t forget who helped get them into office. Together, they advocate for bigger government spending, which will then circle back into the union via dues deductions.

SEIU has claimed the pay of state employees in Oregon is not competitive. However, when looking at their benefits package and total compensation, it’s the taxpayers who are treated unfairly.

As usual, through double-speak and faulty statements, the union leaders credit the wage increase to member solidarity. In truth, it is primarily a result of state budgeting.

Which, of course, its lackeys in the Legislature oversee.

Nice work if you can get it.