Predictably, SEIU 775 isn’t taking the Freedom Foundation’s efforts to expose its reluctance to comply with Harris v. Quinn lying down.
Earlier this month, the Freedom Foundation produced and began airing in the south Puget Sound region a television ad featuring Bradley Boardman, an Everett home healthcare worker, discussing how the union makes it difficult for individual providers (IPs) like himself to opt out of what used to be mandatory union participation.
SEIU’s attorney Dmitri Iglitzen quickly responded with a lengthy letter of complaint to Comcast, attempting to browbeat the cable provider into discontinuing the ad.
After notifying Freedom Foundation and considering the Foundation’s response letter, Comcast decided to continue airing the ad.
Watch the ad the SEIU didn’t want you to see.
Boardman has been caring for his disabled sister-in-law since before SEIU 775 showed up in 2003 and, following a dubious election, was recognized as the exclusive bargaining unit for everyone receiving a subsidy from Medicaid for providing homecare. He opted out of full membership in 2010, but was still required by law to continue paying a “representation fee” to the union against his will.
Last summer, however, the U.S. Supreme Court in Harris ruled that IPs like Boardman are actually “partial public employees” and can’t be compelled like regular state workers to support the union at all.
After initially scheming with Gov. Inslee’s staff to find a way around the ruling, SEIU grudgingly conceded this spring that its “members” can’t be forced to pay union fees.
But rather than simply notifying the workers of their newly recognized rights and allowing providers to opt in to union support, SEIU 775 merely placed a confusingly worded “legal notice” on the last page of a six-page union mailer, requiring IPs to respond directly.
Failure to do so would be construed as consent to continue paying union fees. Very convenient for the union.
Meanwhile, the Freedom Foundation has been fighting ever since last fall to obtain a comprehensive list of individual providers so it can inform them of their opt-out rights instead. But the union has waged a constant legal battle to thwart a legal public records request, even going so far as to file a lawsuit against the Freedom Foundation and the state of Washington.
The Boardman ad called attention to the union’s foot-dragging and deception, and it was having the desired effect – which explains why SEIU 775 is so desperate to have it killed
“The Freedom Foundation stands strongly behind this ad,” Abernathy concluded. “It should remain on the air.”