By renewing and re-energizing our focus on the state of New York, the Freedom Foundation has doubled down on its promise to take on government union bosses and their radical unconstitutional agendas everywhere.
Nearly one million of New York’s 22 million residents are union-represented public employees, and those Empire Staters deserve to know their legal rights regarding union representation, union membership and the payment of union dues.
But too few do
Last week, for example, we broke the ice by sending an email to more than 23,000 members of CSEA/AFSCME Local 1000, explaining how their union had spent their hard-earned dues over the past few years.
The higher-than-average open rate as well as the higher-than-average click rate made it clear to us that members of CSEA are hungry to know more about how their union spends their money and what they as individuals can do about it.
One employee from Stony Brook University shared her experience as a CSEA member, saying, “CSEA has been lining its pockets with our money. Union leaders go along with unacceptable pay raises (if you can call them that), treat members like dirt instead of with respect and understanding their problems and call them liars when they are telling the truth.”
Another employee from the Erie County Department of Social Services, noted, “All I know is that I pay CSEA weekly but haven’t ever knowingly benefited from their service.”
A handful of CSEA members responded to the Freedom Foundation email saying that they would like to opt out of paying union dues but were unsure as to how they could go about doing it. Others had questions about maintaining union membership “benefits” after opting out.
The email campaign proved that even modest outreach efforts can produce results in a big state like New York. But it wasn’t all good news.
Four years after the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the right if public employees to decline union membership and dues, why are so many CSEA members still unaware they have a choice? How many other public employees across the state share those sentiments as well? Are there really public employees who can justify paying union dues in exchange for a discounted rate to Six Flags? (I’m looking at you PEF).
Who would trust an organization that has led them to believe that their livelihood would be seriously affected if they became a non-dues paying member?
We are committed to answering those questions in the coming days, whether the unions like it or not. Public employees in New York deserve better, and we intend to give it to them.
That initial email campaign was just the opening volley. In the coming days, tens of thousands more New York public employees will be contacted on a scale never even attempted by the Freedom Foundation. Through emails, postal mail and phone calls, public employees in New York can look forward to hearing from us for the first — but definitely not the last — time.