Since 1989, Illinois has seen a steady decline in union membership. Continuing a 33-year downward trend, the state’s unions lost 17,000 members in 2022.
Thanks in part to the work of the Freedom Foundation, Illinoisans are realizing now, more than ever, that public-sector unions do not have their best interests in mind.
One union that’s been particularly hard hit is SEIU Healthcare (SEIU HCII), the self-described “fastest growing union of healthcare, childcare, homecare and nursing workers in the Midwest.”
With locals in Illinois, Indiana, Missouri and Kansas, the union purports to represent more than 91,000 members. A closer look into reports published by the U.S. Department of Labor, however, reveals that SEIU HCII represents only about 59,000 workers.
At least one third of those represented by SEIU HCII don’t seem to think the union’s services are worth their money. And they’re right. While the union collects tens of millions of dollars in membership dues each year, only a fraction is spent on “representational activities,” including collective bargaining and contract enforcement.
In 2022, less than 22 percent of SEIU HCII’s $47 million in spending went towards member representation. The rest was spent on politics, administration, and other misguided union leadership priorities.
Often, public sector workers are unaware of their right to decline union membership and dues. The Freedom Foundation has taken a proactive stance in Illinois by offering SEIU HCII members a fresh perspective, equipping workers with the tools necessary to make an informed decision about their union membership.
The Freedom Foundation’s outreach staff have utilized three key elements in educating SEIU HCII members:
- Informative Engagement: Outreach campaigns aim to educate members about their right to choose whether to financially support their union. By facilitating a deeper understanding of their options, the Freedom Foundation empowers workers to exercise their freedom.
- Autonomy and Individuality: The Freedom Foundation is proud to provide workers with the agency to decide whether to financially support a union. These initiatives align with the Foundation’s strong belief in personal choice and the importance of upholding individual rights.
- Economic Considerations: The choice to opt out of union dues can provide workers with immediate financial relief, allowing them to allocate those funds toward personal goals or unforeseen expenses, for example.
The Freedom Foundation’s efforts in the state of Illinois have been effective, especially regarding SEIU HCII. In the month of July alone, the Freedom Foundation helped more than 400 members stop due payments from coming out of their paychecks.
The Freedom Foundation will continue to ensure that SEIU HCII members are informed not only about how their union dues are spent, but how they can exercise their constitutional rights when making a decision about their union membership.