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First SEIU, Now OSEA Bleeding Members Since Janus

(SALEM, Ore.) – The Oregon School Employees Association (OSEA), one of Oregon’s largest labor unions, has suffered what is now proportionally one of the largest membership declines in the nation since the U.S. Supreme Court landmark ruling last June in Janus v. AFSCME.

In the aftermath of Janus, which eliminated mandatory dues or fees for public-sector employees, 30 percent of OSEA’s members have fled from their union.

According to numbers posted to OSEA’s website in February, chapters within the union have experienced an average of 30 percent membership losses since Janus.

Of the 22,415 employees represented by OSEA, only 15,535 were dues paying members as of February- a 31 percent drop in the eight short months since the decision was handed down.

Of the union’s 139 chapters, 19 are currently below 50 percent membership, including:

  • Morrow Co. Ch. 59: 7 percent membership;
  • Powers Ch. 125: 13 percent membership;
  • Paul Ch. 121: 17 percent membership;
  • Roseburg Ch. 21: 19 percent membership;
  • Yamhill-Carlton Ch. 171: 20 percent membership; and,
  • David Douglas Ch. 40: 21 percent membership.

These dramatic losses are costing OSEA an estimated $3.6 million annually.

This unprecedented loss of revenue explains why OSEA requested the introduction of  House Bill 2643 via Rep. Paul Holvey (D-Eugene). The bill is designed to circumvent the freedoms provided to workers by Janus and would take away their ability to opt-out of their union dues. Instead, their dues would be automatically deducted from their pay check by the State and go directly to the union. Consequently, workers would see a deduction in their pay, and taxpayers will be put on the hook to fund unions directly.

You can learn more about House Bill 2643 here.

Even Freedom Foundation Oregon Director Aaron Withe was surprised at these defection rates. Withe stated during an interview with Oregon Public Broadcasting he had expected membership losses of this capacity to take at least a year. Instead, we’ve witnessed over 30 percent of members leave in just eight months.

These losses are due in no small part to efforts of the Freedom Foundation. Following the Janus decision, the Freedom Foundation launched a full-scale statewide campaign to inform government workers of their newly affirmed workplace rights, and now the results are speaking for themselves.