The Freedom Foundation’s outreach to the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 1776 union started roughly one month ago. We let the union members know what their bosses are doing with their hard-earned dues dollars through our direct mail, email, and text campaigns.
After two emails and one of our direct mail pieces, 36 UFCW members have already chosen to leave the union for good, and we expect more to leave in the coming weeks. This equates to almost $30,000 in loss membership dues for UFCW. These emails and mail pieces were basic reminders that public employees don’t have to financially support a union if they choose not to.
That right was affirmed in the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark 2018 decision in Janus vs. AFSCME, which states that no public employee can be compelled to pay union dues or “agency fees” because of the benefits they may receive from their collective bargaining.
Which begs the question: If unions exist solely to benefit the workers they represent, why must workers hear about their constitutional rights from us and not their union?
Also, why are these union bosses afraid to tell their members about their rights to opt out? Is it because the less their members know, the better for the union’s political agenda?
You bet it is.
The majority of public-sector worker dues go into the coffers of union bosses, who use it to support political candidates and causes of their choosing — regardless of how the employee feels about it.
From Jan. 1 through Oct. 19 this year — the last filing date before the November election, — UFCW’s political committee spent $357,000 of its members’ dues dollars, with 95 percent going to a single political party and its candidates.
It’s worth noting that UFCW Local 1776 President Wendell Young posted a letter to the union’s website regarding the 2020 election in which he stated, “No matter who you supported, no matter your party affiliation, I am urging each of you to remember that our Local Union is one union of 35,000 women and men across a wide jurisdiction in a growing range of industries … But I am confident that if each one of us makes a commitment to work together, the nation will emerge from this election stronger than ever, just as strong as our Local Union is. Our American democracy was formed and shaped by our nation’s founders in Philadelphia, where this local was first organized. Our Local Union is called ‘1776’ as a tribute to those brave leaders and to celebrate democracy: as a union and as a nation.”
Our Commonwealth has not yet certified a single vote for the presidential ticket, but it’s clear Pennsylvania voters again are evenly split. Nevertheless, once again union political bosses want to chime in and blatantly remind their union members to vote and think one way, or else.
The proof is in the pudding. The cover photo on the so-called unity letter is of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris celebrating, which suggests the union’s support for anyone other than liberal Democrats is just so much talk. Out of the 154 races UFCW Local 1776 supported and endorsed ranging from the presidential race all the way down ballot to state representative races, 146 of the endorsements went to Democrats.
It’s hard to believe 95 percent of the union’s membership agrees with the political agenda of every candidate their union boss is backing. With more than 6.7 million Pennsylvanians casting votes in the presidential race, it’s more telling than ever that people are not in lockstep with everything going on.
We’re truly a battleground state, and for union bosses to take advantage of their leadership positions and impose political activism on their members is just wrong.
We will not stop informing public-sector employees of their constitutional rights not to support a union and keep more money in their own pocket and out of the pockets of a political party or candidate with whom they disagree.