(The Center Square) – The Freedom Foundation is celebrating a milestone in its efforts to reverse what it sees as the grip of public sector unions on government. Olympia-based think tank estimates it helped 100,000 employees withdraw from public sector union membership and stop dues deductions, denying so-called unions $ 150 million in lost dues and revenue .
The organization’s campaign against forcing public sector workers to pay union dues if they do not wish to do so comes against the backdrop of two relatively recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions involving unions in the United States. public sector : Harris vs. Quinn in 2014 and Janus v. AFSCME in 2018.
In the first case, the High Court ruled that home health care workers in Illinois cannot be forced to financially support a union they do not wish to join. The judges did not strike down these state laws as unconstitutional via a stricter ruling that the home health workers in the case are not “full public employees” as they are hired and fired. by individual patients and work in private homes.
In the latter case – also involving an Illinois law – the court, in a landmark ruling, ended mandatory union dues for public employees. The court ruled that such dues violated the First Amendment rights of non-union workers by forcing the state to force them to pay union dues against their will. The Freedom Foundation submitted a brief friend in the Janus Case.
“We know from experience that public employees are hungry for information about their rights and do not want to subsidize the extreme agenda of union bosses,” said Aaron Withe, CEO of the Freedom Foundation. Press release. “This is a great day for individual freedom in America and a major achievement for the Freedom Foundation, but we won’t stop until we give every public employee in the country the opportunity to make an informed decision regarding joining a union. “
To this end, the Freedom Foundation – founded in 1991 by Bob Williams and Lynn Harsh as the Evergreen Freedom Foundation – has expanded to other states, with offices in Oregon, California, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. .
The Freedom Foundation’s focus on public sector unions and the subsequent expansion of a regional think tank into a national organization began under former CEO Tom McCabe, who served from 2013 to 2020.
“We are present in almost every state in terms of public sector employee outreach,” said Ashley Varner, vice president of communications and federal affairs for the Freedom Foundation.
A vacation-themed outreach to public sector employees on the East Coast – including staff and volunteers dressed as Santa Claus – is scheduled to take place from November 29 to December 7 and includes stops in the suburb of the District of Columbia in Northern Virginia and Maryland. , as well as Dover, Delaware; Trenton, New Jersey; Albany, New York; Montpellier, Vermont; Concorde, New Hampshire; Boston, Massachusetts; and Hartford, Connecticut.
The Freedom Foundation has its work cut out for it in terms of a more pro-union public sector union presidency of Joe Biden.
“The Biden administration is keen to eradicate the right to work across the country,” Varner said, while continuing forced union dues despite the Janus ruling.
The share of American workers who join a union – both public and private – has declined since 1983, when 20% of workers were unionized, although the figure rose slightly between 2019 and 2020, according to a U.S. labor office. Statistics (BLS) Annual Report released in january. Overall union membership increased to 10.8% in 2020, an increase of 0.5% compared to 2019.
Public sector union rates also increased over the same period, from 33.6% to 34.8%, according to the BLS report.