Initiative 1501 is one of several initiatives Washington voters are likely to see on the November ballot. Sponsors of I-1501 promises the proposal would “increase penalties for criminal identity theft and consumer fraud targeting seniors and vulnerable individuals.”
Sounds like a noble cause, right?
Well, if it sounds great, it’s because the special interests groups behind I-1501 are attempting to hide its true propose.
To date, SEIU Local 775 has pumped a whopping $1,203,763 into I-1501.
Because I-1501 is a smoke-and-mirrors initiative meant to help unions like SEIU Local 775 keep power.
It all started in 2014 when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Harris vs. Quinn that individual provider home care aides (IPs) who are paid by Medicaid funds are not state employees. Therefore, IPs cannot be compelled to pay union dues and fees if they do not wish to join a union
However, that ruling did not stopped SEIU from telling IPs otherwise. Last year, a video surfaced that exposed how a union representative used state-mandated, taxpayer-funded training sessions to mislead a class of IPs into believing membership in SEIU 775 was mandatory. This was one of many reported incidents of SEIU 775 representatives deliberately lying to those it claims as members.
SEIU 775 also deceptively worked to persuade individual providers to sign away their constitutional rights via a letter campaign.
The Freedom Foundation responded to the injustice by seeking the names of the affected workers via a series of public disclosure requests to the state. Their goal was to inform the workers of their legal rights under Harris v. Quinn, since the union won’t tell them the truth.
Of course, SEIU 775—among other unions—did not stand idly by and watch the Freedom Foundation shine a light on their web of lies. The union filed a lawsuit to prevent the Freedom Foundation from obtaining the names of the affected providers.
However, SEIU 775’s lawsuit did not work. A judge ruled that Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) must release the names of home healthcare providers to the Freedom Foundation.
So, because its lawsuit did not work, SEIU 775 has decided to launch a highly deceptive initiative: I-1501. Opt Out Today explains:
Initiative 1501, filed in March, would reform the PRA to bar the release of IPs’ names and reinforce the statutes already exempting the rest of their personal information from disclosure. It would also block the release of the names and contact information of SEIU 925-represented family childcare providers, who also may stop paying union dues under Harris. Federal records indicate SEIU 775 paid the Seattle law firm that filed the initiative, Smith & Lowney, $21,532 in November 2015, likely to draft the initiative.
Unsurprisingly, Section 11(d) of I-1501 allows for all detailed personal contact information of IPs and family child care providers to be released to “a representative certified or recognized under RCW 41.56.080,” the statute governing the unions that represent IPs and family child care providers. So while SEIU 775 and SEIU 925—both private organizations—will still be able to get caregivers’ detailed personal information, groups trying to tell them the truth, like the Freedom Foundation, and even other caregivers, will not be able to even get a list of names.
If voters pass I-1501, they would effectively prevent organizations like the Freedom Foundation from obtaining names of IPs in order to inform them of their rights.
For SEIU 775, that means it could get away with its tactics to avoid obeying the Supreme Court’s ruling and granting members their rights.
The initiative is clearly not about protecting privacy – it’s about protecting union power.