Unions Imitating Freedom Foundation?

Unions Imitating Freedom Foundation?

Unions Imitating Freedom Foundation?

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. And if that’s true, a group called “Oregon Public Employees United” must really be impressed by the Freedom Foundation’s outreach efforts.

The group appears to be responsible for circulating a new one-page document that copies the exact format and style used in one of the Freedom Foundation’s most recent mailers to 65,000 Oregon public employees.

The Freedom Foundation piece, which informs Oregon public employees about their newly acknowledged right to opt out of dues and agency fees under Janus v. AFSCME. It was sent to virtually all public employees in Oregon following the court’s June 27th decision, and contains some basic information about Janus presented in “Q & A” style.

You can see the copy here. It was provided to Freedom Foundation by a public school teacher who recognized it for what is really was.

The title, format and many of the questions are exactly the same as the Freedom Foundation’s, but the answers have been changed to – no surprise here – completely avoid any substantive explanation about what Janus actually means, and instead rail against the Freedom Foundation and right-to-work laws in general.

Unsurprisingly, hardly any information can be found about Oregon Public Employees United. The Portland chapter of the union-affiliated Jobs with Justice, however, describes the group as “a group inspired by recent teacher strikes in several states.”

One also inspired by the Freedom Foundation, apparently.

It’s interesting to see union-affiliated groups resorting to such trickery to get their message across, especially since they’re so quick to (falsely) accuse groups like the Freedom Foundation for doing the same thing.

Take this handout from the union-created smear group Northwest Accountability Project (NWAP), for example.

To discourage public employees from speaking to the Freedom Foundation, it absurdly claims, “The Freedom Foundation has been known to lie about their identity while knocking on doors, often claiming they are representatives from labor unions, to coerce to sign paperwork under false pretenses.”

That’s so absurd it’s laughable – first because it’s untrue and the NWAP provides no evidence whatsoever, and second because the Freedom Foundation has actually documented and sued government unions for those exact behaviors.

Ironic, isn’t it?

Speaking of irony, here’s more. Unlike the NWAP and Oregon Public Employees United – both of which accuse the Freedom Foundation of being some sort of shadowy, nefarious corporate front group – we include our organization’s contact information on every handout and piece of mail we give to public employees. We welcome their questions and feedback. Our door-to-door canvassers always wear name tags identifying them as Freedom Foundation/Opt Out Today employees, and we even allow the public to see who we are on our staff page.

That’s more than either NWAP or the “group inspired by recent teacher strikes” can say.

In any case, we’ll take the latest attempt to imitate our mailer as a compliment. And while Oregon Public Employees United doesn’t get any points for originality (or accuracy, for that matter), at least they’re helping spread the word about Janus v. AFSCME to people who might be curious and want to look more closely into it.

We appreciate it.

Flattery aside, we still recommend those public employees visit OptOutToday.com learn more accurate and detailed information about their rights.

Research & Government Affairs Associate
Ben Straka serves as a Research and Government Affairs Associate for the Freedom Foundation, where his responsibilities include an array of policy research and reform efforts aimed at supporting the organization’s mission through legislative advocacy and public policy expertise. His work has been published in various local news outlets throughout the Pacific Northwest and the country, and he has appeared as a guest on radio programs such as The Lars Larson Show, among others. He has regularly testified before the Oregon State Legislature on matters of labor policy and government transparency, has advised local government leaders on labor relations, and has represented employees in administrative proceedings under the state’s collective bargaining laws. Ben first joined the Freedom Foundation in 2016, and holds additional professional experience in the fields of real estate development and construction. He is a native of Eugene, Ore. and a graduate of Corban University, where he studied political science and business. He lives in Oregon with his wife.