The Service Employee International Union (SEIU) 775 continues its deceptive attempt to bypass the United States Supreme Court’s ruling that “it is unconstitutional for individual home health care providers to be forced to pay union dues or fees against their will” (Harris v. Quinn). As SHIFT recently highlighted, SEIU 775 leaders have strategically fought against the ruling by discouraging individual providers from exercising their constitutional rights.
Fearing the loss of forced dues dollars – and the political power over Democrat politicians that comes with that money – SEIU 775 is limiting 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 union does not mention providers’ right to decline association on its website or Facebook page.
In the past, SEIU 775 sent out letters to individual providers not officially members of the union in an attempt to convince them to give up their constitutional rights and join the union. Providers who sign on the dotted line — and do not read the fine print — would later find it difficult to reclaim their rights. Fine print stipulations include,
- Authorization for the union to deduct from the wages of signers “all Union dues and other fees or assessments as shall be certified by 775NW…” and limitations (a 15-day window each year) on future ability to rescind said authorization.
- Signers’ limitation on their ability to take “legal action against the union for its unconstitutional actions.”
Most recently, SEIU 775 has engaged in another letter campaign—this time directed toward both member and non-member individual providers. The letter, obtained by the Freedom Foundation, praises the merit of membership to SEIU 775 for some five pages. It concludes with the following legal notice,
“In light of the legal uncertainty created by the United State Supreme Court’s June 30, 2014 decision in Harris v. Quinn, pending further review the Union is not at this time requiring that you provide any financial support for the Union… If you tell us you don’t want to support the Union financially, you will not be charged any Union dues or fees, but deciding to withdraw from membership means you will lose all rights to vote for your employment contract, for or against dues increases, and in Union officer elections. Less than one half of one percent of caregivers have chosen to give up their rights and withdraw from membership. If you do not respond to this notice, we will take it to mean you wish to provide financial support to the Union and will be charged through a payroll deduction.”
Notice that SEIU 775 places the burden of action on individual providers—an opt-out rather than opt-in approach mixed with the false notion that “silence means consent.” And, by every indication, SEIU 775 is banking on members’ silence. The Freedom Foundation points out that the “provider who sent the mailing” for their inspection “almost threw the high-gloss piece away it looked so much like other junk mail.” The Freedom Foundation,
“Imagine receiving a promotional magazine in the mail with a similar notice. Unless you immediately told the publisher to stop sending you the magazine, it would direct your employer to start automatically deducting the cost of your new subscription from your monthly paycheck. And once in, you could only cancel your subscription during a 15-day period each year. But don’t worry: The publisher is convinced you will enjoy the magazine.”
Of course, there is a method to SEIU’s sneakiness. Washington State and SEIU 775 are “battling litigation seeking to get the Harris decision applied in Washington.” By sending out a glossy mail piece in hopes recipients would think it junk mail, SEIU is attempting to “shield itself from legal liability for its unconstitutional actions” if, in the future, it does not get its desired legal outcome.