Freedom Foundation

Speaking Truth To Power

On June 21, the Freedom Foundation was invited to speak to the Orange County In-Home-Supportive-Services (IHSS) Advisory Board on the activities of the Freedom Foundation on behalf of IHSS service providers.

The board is an appointed panel of citizens who are either recipients or providers of the IHSS program. Its primary responsibility is to recommend actionable items and present findings to the Board of Supervisors on behalf of the $1.9 million IHSS Public Authority budget.

In the 2017-18 year, the county distributed more than $336 million in IHSS payments and more than $55 million for providers. It’s safe to say the IHSS is a large component of the overall social services agency operations which comprises of almost 15 percent of the general revenue of the $6.2 billion annual county budget.

Small wonder the IHSS Advisory Board wanted to know exactly what our intentions and plans were when it comes to reaching out to IHSS providers. The invitation (coincidentally or not) came after the United Domestic Workers of America (the union exclusively representing Orange County IHSS employees) filed a labor complaint with the California Public Employee Resources Board.

The hearing before the board was a great opportunity for me to set the record straight.

Most of the board members had never heard of the Freedom Foundation until late last year.  This is when we started canvassing the orientation center of the IHSS Public Authority building to educate providers to the constitutional rights regarding union membership.  Some of the board even expressed gratitude for the work the Freedom Foundation to educate providers.

After my presentation, the board opened the floor for public comment.

The first commenter was a Riverside IHSS union organizer, who spouted union talking points and tried to convince the board our activities were in violation of her rights to organize on behalf of IHSS providers. It would have been convincing speech had she based her arguments on reason rather than anecdotal stories.

In fact, the Freedom Foundation’s activities do not violate her rights to organize IHSS providers. Our activities shine a light on UDW’s violation of the constitution when they compel members to join their union or fail to inform them about their rights under Harris v. Quinn.

The union often makes this argument: What’s wrong with the union fighting for the rights of providers, workers, etc.?

What’s wrong?  It’s the way the fight is being funded. Union bosses are forcing their members to subsidize their fight in violation of their First Amendment rights.

You cannot compel someone to subsidize your political fight. That’s what the majority opinion stated in Harris v. Quinn for partial-public employees. So don’t buy the bait.

The Constitution gave you that right, and the Freedom Foundation is proudly giving union members a voice against their leaders who want to silence the divergent opinions.