Two years ago, on June 27, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court told Mark Janus he no longer had to join a union or pay dues or fees to one in order to keep his job as a child support specialist for the state of Illinois.
And neither did millions of other government employees all over the country.
On paper, Janus v. AFSCME was a landmark ruling that ended at least 40 years of union domination in the public workforce. And since it was issued, tens of thousands of Americans have successfully resigned their government union membership.
But doing so shouldn’t have been nearly this hard. Unfortunately, far more people still want to leave their union than have been allowed to.
That’s because union leaders — who’ve spent decades gorging themselves on other people’s paychecks — responded to Janus by erecting every obstacle and playing every dirty trick they could think of to prevent its enforcement.
It’s all illegal, mind you, and eventually justice will be served. But in the meantime, every anti-Janus regulation adopted by the unions, every unconstitutional law passed by union-complicit politicians and every head-scratching lower court ruling issued by a judge who owes his or her seat on the bench to government union money keeps billions of dues dollars flowing into union coffers.
That’s where the Freedom Foundation comes in.
During the last two years, the Freedom Foundation has helped more than 75,000 public employees across the country leave their union.
We’ve only been doing business in the Buckeye State since October of last year, but we’ve already helped nearly 1,000 public employees in this state break ties with a union whose tactics they resent and whose mission they would rather not support.
At an average of $800 a year in dues, that adds up to nearly $800,000 in lost revenue the unions will never get back. That’s more money in the pockets of Ohio families during this period of economic uncertainty.
In a recent investigation of union spending, we uncovered the Ohio Civil Service Employee Association (OCSEA)/AFSCME Local 11 collected more than $14 million in 2018, of which nearly $5 million was sent out of state.
Additionally, the union’s financial disclosure filing listed $115,000 on meeting expenses, $97,000 spent on hotels and $110,000 spent on an international convention. That’s a lot of money not going to our state’s families and communities.
Freedom Foundation also researched the Ohio Education Association (OEA) and its spending of last year’s dues, which totaled a whopping $52 million.
In 2019 alone, OEA sent nearly $20 million of the total dues collected out of state to the National Education Association.
OEA also spent $4 million on political contributions, gave nearly $2 million to outside organizations, spent $847,814 on airfare, hotels and travel, and paid more than $665,000 to seven of its twelve employees.
There are countless other public-sector unions in this state that have dubious ways of spending other people’s money, which seems particularly egregious during this difficult economic period.
It comes as no surprise that Gov. DeWine and his administration never acknowledged our suggestion that Ohio issue a three-month moratorium on public-sector union dues collections in order to ease the economic burden on millions of Ohioans, and which would have pumped at least $61 million into our state’s economy at no cost to taxpayers.
Ohio would’ve seen an immediate economic boost by temporarily letting public employees keep more of their own money, but DeWine would apparently rather do the unions’ bidding than help out families in need. The Freedom Foundation has even forwarded nearly 500 letters from public employees who have asked to opt out of their union, but the Governor has declined to lend any support greater than making a generic statement of “no comment”.
This is unacceptable.
Our state has suffered tremendously these past few months during the COVID-19 shutdown, and thousands of jobs and businesses will never come back.
Last month, it was reported over one million jobless claims were filed and this week our unemployment fund has been completely tapped out. In a state that only has 11.6 million people, this is a crushing blow.
And yet the governor carries on despite our calls and lets the union cash flow and political slush funds keep growing every day while everyone else suffers and struggles to make ends meet.
On this second anniversary of the Janus decision, we urge all public-sector employees in Ohio to question where their hard-earned union dues dollars are really going.
And if you don’t like the answer you get, feel free to contact us at the Freedom Foundation. We’re here to help.