Last summer, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that home healthcare workers in Illinois could not be considered full-fledged state employees and therefore could not be forced to join a union (Harris vs. Quinn). The decision resulted in a wave of union panic—obvious attempts to skirt the law ensued.
Local union leaders were forced to publically admit that the Court’s ruling does, in fact, apply to home healthcare providers in Washington State. However, their actions spoke otherwise.
As SHIFT reported, following Harris vs. Quinn, SEIU 775 “made no effort to inform any of the approximately 33,000 individual providers it represents of their constitutional rights.” The union has limited its obedience to the law by ceasing to automatically deduct dues from the paychecks of only those providers who specifically ask them to do so—otherwise it continues business as usual. The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) 775 refuses to mention providers’ right to decline association on its website or Facebook page. Making matters worse, SEIU 775 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. The goal is to inform the workers of their legal rights under Harris v. Quinn.
Of course, SEIU 775—among other unions—does not appreciate the virtues of information and truth. The union filed a lawsuit to prevent the Freedom Foundation from obtaining the names of the affected providers. Last month, a judge ruled that Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) must release the names of home healthcare providers to the Freedom Foundation.
That didn’t stop local union leaders. Determined to keep the truth from their members, SEIU 925 sought a preliminary injunction “to halt the Freedom Foundation’s use of another batch of names.” Additionally, the union sought to force the Freedom Foundation “to return information it has already obtained.” On Friday, Thurston County Superior Court Judge Erik Price rejected SEIU 925’s request.
According to the Freedom Foundation, Price’s denial of a preliminary injunction signals that it is unlikely that the union’s motion will “prevail on the merits of the case when—and if—the lawsuit is actually heard in court.” As of today, no date has been set.
Though it never fails to shock, union leaders’ willingness to deliberately mislead due paying members for profit is old news. It is important, however, to recognize just how determined they are to prevent information and the truth from seeing the light of day. For all too many union leaders, truth is relative and information is enemy number one.