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.

Policy Analyst
Ben Straka serves as a policy analyst for the Freedom Foundation. His responsibilities include an array of policy research and reform efforts, primarily centered around labor relations, education and government transparency within the states. In addition, he provides support for the Freedom Foundation’s Outreach program and works closely with the rest of the team to hold local governments and public-sector unions accountable to state residents. Ben joined the Freedom Foundation in May 2016. He is a native of Eugene, Ore., and a graduate of Corban University, where he studied political science and business.