Freedom Foundation

SEIU 503 refuses to honor opt-out requests

The Freedom Foundation filed a lawsuit against Oregon Gov. Kate Brown and SEIU 503 alleging the union – with the governor’s blessing – has refused to honor numerous care providers’ constitutionally protected requests to opt out.

The suit, Entwistle v. Brown includes 14 care providers represented by SEIU 503 who’ve submitted forms to the union requesting it stop deducting dues and fees from the paychecks they receive for looking after a disabled loved one.

The lead plaintiff, Ms. Entwistle, has made the same request over 40 times – to no avail.

Every potential care provider in Oregon is required to attend an orientation session covering health and safety, payroll etc. These sessions also, however, set aside 20 minutes during which an SEIU 503 representative can make a pitch for union membership.

Although union dues and fees were made optional by a 2014 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, examples abound of union operatives lying and using intimidation tactics during these mandatory indoctrinations to persuade attendees to sign membership cards.

These cards include highly deceptive language, stating:

“This authorization is irrevocable for a period of one year from the date of execution and from year to year thereafter unless not less than thirty (30) and not more than forty-five (45) days prior to the end of any annual period…”

Translation: Any care provider who signs a union membership card agrees to pay union dues for a minimum of a year with no option to cease these dues from being deducted.

The Freedom Foundation has been sending in opt-out forms to the union every two weeks on the providers’ behalf to ensure their “opt-out window” gets hit. We even encouraged providers to call the union to find out when their dates to opt out were.

The response from the union? Crickets.

The union to date has failed to recognize more than 900 providers’ requests to resign their union membership, with more doing so every two weeks.

Freedom Foundation Oregon Director Aaron Withe noted, “Like a twisted version of Robin Hood, SEIU 503 steals money from people who just want to provide care for others and uses it to pay themselves lucrative salaries.

“We work out that they’re taking more than $378,000 a year from people who no longer want to be in the union,” he said. “In most places this is considered stealing and is a criminal offense. In SEIU’s line of work, it’s just another day at the office.”

Unlike the union, the Freedom Foundation is representing these workers and taking the issue to court.

The basis of the claims is simple: People have requested to leave. Let them leave.