Winning Office Without Exploiting Workers

Winning Office Without Exploiting Workers

Winning Office Without Exploiting Workers

Before the election, the Freedom Foundation prepared a study documenting how union executives divert mandatory workplace representation dues into the campaigns of their favored candidates. Our report showed that 76 percent of all union political funds in Washington state come from general fund transfers, not voluntary contributions from union members.

We urged candidates to sign a pledge to refuse or return union donations if they are taken by force as workplace representation dues or fees.

Seventy-six candidates for state and county office signed the pledge, 18 of whom won their positions. Some were in easy races, others in extremely difficult races, but a number were in close races where union officials spent tens of thousands of dollars to defeat them.

The lesson for lawmakers at both the national and local levels should be clear. Voters are comfortable with candidates who are straightforward about the principles they see as necessary to improve Washington—even if those principles include concerns about the unions’ undue influence on government.

As the Wall Street Journal’s editorial board noted, the lesson both Republicans and Democrats should take away from the 2014 midterms is that “public union money can be defeated when the cause is just and you stand your ground.”

Better still, however, would be a set of laws which levels the playing field and dismantles the extraordinary privileges and forced funding scheme of the union special interest.

Senior Policy Analyst
Jami Lund is the Freedom Foundation’s Senior Policy Analyst. From 2004 to 2011, he developed legislative policy as a research analyst for the Washington House Republican Caucus. Prior to that he worked for the Freedom Foundation as the Project Manager for the Teachers Paycheck Protection project, shepherding the development of the Foundation’s landmark U.S. Supreme Court case to protect teacher rights. Jami is an accomplished speaker and researcher, one of Washington state’s top scholars on education policy and finance.