Government employees, having been liberated by last summer’s landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Janus v. AFSCME, are fleeing the clutches of their former union captors in huge numbers.
But instead of responding like a private-sector company would when suddenly deprived of its monopoly – namely, working harder and providing a better product or service – unions are falling back on what they know best.
Lying through their teeth.
For starters, they’re lying about whether the mass exodus is even happening. And with the help of their allies in the mainstream media, a number of articles have been published denying Janus has had any impact at all.
But it’s one thing to lie to the public. It’s quite another to deliberately deceive your dues-paying members.
Even before the Janus ruling was issued last June, however, public-sector unions like SEIU, AFSCME, WEA, the Teamsters and many others read the handwriting on the wall and began preparing for the worst. But again, instead of simply cleaning up their act, they resorted to subterfuge.
Union operatives made a massive push to contact and, if possible, “persuade” as many workers as possible to renew their union membership. Many were bullied and harassed, but others were simply lied to.
At the Freedom Foundation, we’ve heard from literally hundreds of government workers telling essentially the same story. The workers weren’t told about Janus, or that they could no longer be forced to pay union dues or fees. They were told the membership renewal forms were routine – and mandatory.
Take “David,” for example, who wrote:
“I signed an OPT OUT letter on March 15, 2018 to PSE, and was informed that I signed a form to authorize deduction. I was tricked into signing the form and didn’t understand it. Please help. I want to opt out.”
“I work for Washington state at the University of Washington Medical Center, and I’ve been a member of SEIU 925. Their representative tricked me into signing a form without me knowing about what’s going on by saying it’s just a form the union needs you to sign if you want to keep working. I later found out I could opt out, and when I contacted the union I was told I couldn’t because I had signed the form.”
In most cases, such workers are no longer considered full-fledged (i.e., voting) members, but the union continues to skim dues from their paychecks unless or until they reapply to have the deduction discontinued during an arbitrary annual window or opportunity.
“Gill” expressed the frustration many of his peers feel:
“I have a problem with continuing to be forced to pay for benefits and services I no longer receive. I find this unethical. I feel that the ‘contract’ I signed is no longer lawful as it was signed under the pretense that I had to pay dues whether I was a member or not.”
In the six months since the Janus ruling was issued, the Freedom Foundation – which has offices only in Washington, Oregon and California – has helped more than 41,000 workers opt out of a union they no longer wish to be associated with. By the end of the year, our goal is to free 100,000, depriving the unions of $40 million in revenue they would otherwise use to fund their job-killing, liberty-reducing, union-centric leftist agenda.
If you think the unions aren’t worried enough by that prospect to tell a few whoppers, you’re selling them – and the Freedom Foundation – short.