The Freedom Foundation devotes nearly every hour of every work day to exposing the excesses of public-employee unions in general and SEIU in particular. The philosophy that undergirds our efforts is that workers should be free to make their own decisions about who represents them – assuming they want to be represented at all.
To that end, we file lawsuits, stage meetings and events, help craft labor-reform legislation and communicate our positions to our members and the media. Not surprisingly, the unions employ the exact same tactics.
What both approaches lack, however, is a basis for comparison. When we present our point of view, we don’t afford the unions equal time to present their perspective. And vice versa.
We believe these are vitally important issues for taxpayers as well as government employees, and everyone would be better served by a robust, but civil, exchange of ideas to see which side offers the most substance.
Consequently, we’ve decided to challenge SEIU 775 to a public debate – hopefully to be broadcast statewide by TVW or some other station – on the question of mandatory unionization. This week, I sent the following letter to SEIU 775 President David Rolf:
Dear Mr. Rolf –
To say that SEIU and the Freedom Foundation disagree fundamentally over the compulsory unionization of government employees is an enormous understatement. The question is whether the union’s members and the public at large, having been presented with the facts, would side with your position or ours.
Let’s find out.
I propose we stage a public debate between you, or a designated SEIU representative of your choosing, and a Freedom Foundation staff member on the question of “Should Public Employees be Required to Join a Union as a Condition of Employment or Allowed to Decide for Themselves?”
The event will be held at a date, time and location agreed upon by both sides. We will even contact TVW or a local cable system about televising it and supplying a moderator.
You and your surrogates have made countless claims about the Freedom Foundation and its motives, just as we have about yours. Now I’m offering both sides the opportunity to present their case to a statewide audience in a thoughtful, respectful exchange of ideas.
I believe this issue has important ramifications for every resident of Washington and I’m sure you’ll agree they have a right to make up their minds based on facts and logic rather than sniping and innuendo.
Please let me know as soon as possible whether you’re open to the idea of a debate so we can work out the details.
Brian Minnich, Executive Vice President
We’re still waiting for a response, and when we receive it (or conclude one won’t be forthcoming), we’ll pass along the information so you can plan on attending. Or not.
Obviously we’re confident the Freedom Foundation’s commitment to defending the rights of individuals to decide for themselves which organizations to join and candidates to support is by far the most defensible. But just as obviously, the unions believe the benefits they offer workers justify denying them this choice.
We very much hope they’ll take advantage of this opportunity to explain why.