The Freedom Foundation explored how workers have responded when given a choice to pay union dues, in the aftermath of last year’s U.S. Supreme Court decision in Harris v. Quinn. Utilizing data available from the State Public Records Act, the group found that when workers are “allowed to freely choose whether to financially support a union and are informed of their rights, many of them head for the exit.” The Freedom Foundation,
“According to data from the state Department of Social and Health Services, nearly half of Washington’s approximately 7,000 family child care providers have exercised their newly acknowledged rights and left SEIU 925 since the Harris decision. The percentage of providers paying dues to the union fell from 100 percent in July 2014 to 53.2 percent (3,738) in May 2015…
“As of May 2015, 3,286 family child providers (46.8 percent) were no longer in the union. Additional outreach efforts are ongoing.”
The numbers reveal a different story for SEIU 775, the local which represents individual provider home care aides (IPs) serving state-subsidized clients. Data indicates that SEIU 775 has “largely maintained its membership in the wake of the Harris decision.” The Freedom Foundation,
“As of May 2015 only about 2.5 percent (862) of the approximately 35,000 IPs had ceased financially supporting the union.”
The difference in numbers could be attributed to SEIU 775 lying to workers about their constitutional right to opt-out of union membership. And, the lengths SEIU 775 has gone to discourage workers from exercising their constitutional rights.
This summer, 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.
Additionally, SEIU 775 reached an entirely new level of hiding the truth of Harris v. Quinn from its approximately 33,000 workers when it began actively working to persuade individual providers to sign away their constitutional rights via a letter campaign. After making an appeal to stand with “our bargaining team for better care for our clients,” the letter asks providers to return an enclosed membership form, which—conveniently—is already filled out for the recipients.
The fine print of the form authorizes SEIU 775 to deduct union dues from the wages of signers. By signing the form, providers also limit themselves to any future ability to rescind said authorization. Worse, the fine print of the letter prevents signers from taking “legal action against the union for its unconstitutional actions” should they find the need to do so at any point.
Hidden truths, lies and secrecy are all part of SEIU 775’s sordid past. That’s probably why the union now faces a lawsuit from the Attorney General’s Office.