The Freedom Foundation’s Oregon office is celebrating yet another successful year of fighting for freedom and fairness on behalf of public employees across the Beaver State.
With the first full year following the Supreme Court’s Janus decision — which freed public employees from compulsory union dues — now behind us, two things are abundantly clear: 1.) Government unions in Oregon have no intention of complying with Janus of their own accord; and, 2.) the Freedom Foundation won’t stop working until they do.
When the decision was handed down in June 2018, we were standing ready and immediately launched a full-scale, statewide outreach campaign to inform public employees of their newly affirmed constitutional rights. The campaign included visiting with public employees at their offices and homes, sending mail, email and text messages in addition to creating radio and TV ads and social media messaging.
In 2019 alone, our team of canvassers talked with more than 10,000 Oregon public employees at their homes and offices, while sending out more than a half million pieces of mail, email and text messages, all relaying the same message of individual liberty and personal freedom.
It was also an extremely busy year for our legal office. We currently have five cases in active litigation here in Oregon alone, representing thousands of public employees across the state who continue to be taken advantage of by union cronies.
In addition to lawsuits, we sent countless demand letters to various government unions and public agencies throughout the year, most of which ended in settlements advantageous to our clients. One particularly memorable example came in May, when we settled a matter for a client who has been trying to get out of her union for seven years. We are happy to report she is finally union-free, putting her hard-earned money into her own pocket, and she received a sizable amount of money in compensation for her injuries.
While this client’s case certainly does stand out, similar circumstances are unfortunately all too common, and we’ve helped many people in similar situations this year. As more and more public union members find out about their rights to opt out, we get more and more calls for assistance from those facing a variety of obstruction tactics by their union.
Because of the Freedom Foundation’s efforts, more than 17,000 Oregon public employees left their government union membership behind in 2019.
This, of course, means 2019 was not a very pleasant year for everyone. Government unions in Oregon saw some of the largest membership declines in the nation last year. SEIU 503, one of the state’s largest public-sector unions, lost 33 percent of its total membership. Two school employees’ unions, OSEA and AFT OR, also lost 36 and 35 percent, respectively.
This past year has shown our successes and government unions desperation to be undeniable.
While unions bosses certainly are not our biggest fans, we walk in solidarity with the thousands of public employees who thankfully welcome our message as we walk into a government union-free 2020.