As a byproduct of the extensive outreach conducted by the Freedom Foundation in New York over the past few months, public employees in neighboring New Jersey have also been letting us know in droves that they’ve had enough of their perfidious unions.
We were ecstatic to see that nearly 30 percent of all opt outs in New Jersey happened during the last two months of 2022, with December nearly matching the state’s all-time record for most opt outs in a month.
What’s so encouraging about this news is that, despite not being exposed directly to the Freedom Foundation’s message and having been victimized by New Jersey’s hideous opt out window laws (Workplace Democracy Enhancement Act), public employees in the Garden State have stepped up to the plate and boldly begun opting out in a big way.
So many opt-out requests came in from just a handful of emails and a Christmas card we had sent that we decided to start calling some of these workers to learn more. What we heard was both horrifying and incredibly exciting.
We were appalled to hear how unions in New Jersey were handling these opt-outs. We spoke with members of CWA NJ, AFSCME Council 63 and NJEA (New Jersey Education Association) members who had tried to terminate their membership and dues and simply told no.
Many were denied informally by their union representative, who offered nothing in writing to explain why. This was almost unprecedented.
In most cases, if a public employee attempts to opt out during a yearly opt-out window, the union will inform the member in writing they cannot leave at that particular time because of something the member had previously signed.
The union will then remind the member of the date they will be “allowed” to opt out.
New Jersey unions, however, are a different breed.
Apparently, CWA, AFSCME and NJEA assumed their members would simply take no for an answer. But they didn’t.
It was shocking to see what these unions had been getting away with in this state, but it was so even more exciting to learn the workers aren’t going to stand for it anymore.
Before speaking with us, many of these members had no idea about what to do. Some were considering dropping their quest for freedom.
But after a few minutes on the phone with our outreach team, they were able to turn the tables on their unions and start applying a little pressure of their own, demanding to be shown an explanation in writing as to why they were not being allowed to leave.
In one case, a member of NJEA who had signed a membership agreement more than a decade earlier and was getting the runaround was able to opt out immediately after she called the union’s bluff by demanding to see its documentation.
NJEA couldn’t produce the paperwork, of course, and agreed to let her opt out right away.
A handful of others were so upset about how they’d been treated by their unions that they volunteered to hand out literature about opting out to their coworkers.
Many more were able to hold their unions accountable for the first time, demanding and receiving documents that would help them understand exactly what they needed to do to finally free themselves.
Needless to say, after our phone call operations, government unions in New Jersey not only got a taste of what’s to come in 2023, but they’re beginning to understand they cannot bully their members when they assert their rights by opting out.
Simply saying “no” won’t work anymore.
Just like New York, New Jersey has been dominated by public-sector unions for far too long. Government employees in those states deserve better, and we plan on giving it to them.
Seeing hundreds of public employees opt out based on only indirect outreach from us was a dead giveaway that the unions in New Jersey just weren’t cutting the mustard for their members.
Calling those members confirmed that and so much more.
New Jersey has put itself firmly in our crosshairs. Just like New York, 2023 will be our biggest year ever in New Jersey. For the first time ever, New Jersey will get a full year of targeted campaigns utilizing all of our outreach arsenal to bring in more opt outs in the coming year than ever before.
We already knew the desire for freedom burned in the hearts of New York public employees. Now the fire has spread to New Jersey.