Last June, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned previous legal precedent requiring government employees to pay either full union membership dues or so-called agency fees if they wanted to keep their job.
For the first time in more than 40 years, the justices recognized that, under the First Amendment, the right not to join a union is just as important as the right to join.
Public-sector employees finally had a choice — but it’s impossible to exercise rights unless you know you have them, and unions across the country went to extraordinary lengths to keep that information from their members.
That’s where the Freedom Foundation comes in.
The organization is on a singular mission to locate and educate public-sector employees of their rights under Janus to opt out.
The employees can decide for themselves what to do next. That’s as it should be.
The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) is one of the chief offenders when it comes to manipulating its own members. AFSCME is the largest trade union of government employees in America, with 1.3 million members including healthcare workers, corrections officers, sanitation employees, police officers, firefighters and childcare providers.
That’s a lot of union dues, folks, and the union isn’t going to give it all back without a fight.
AFSCME President Lee Saunders called the Janus ruling an “attack” on the union itself, even going so far as to create a video for all AFSCME members — whom he must consider mindless — ordering them to disregard any and all communication they receive from the Freedom Foundation.
Among his instructions:
“If they contact you, report it.”
“If you get one of their emails, delete it.”
“If they call you, hang up.”
“If they come to your door, slam it in their faces.”
What’s AFSCME so afraid of? The numbers. They’re terrified of the numbers.
In only eight months since the Janus ruling was issued, the Freedom Foundation has helped nearly 45,000 government employees leave their union and stop paying dues to politically motivated union bosses.
Across California, Oregon and Washington state, the Freedom Foundation has effectively removed $36 million every year from labor union coffers. Forever.
Unions can’t stand it that the Freedom Foundation employs their own tactics against them, including high-touch personal visits, government office canvassing, phone banking, emails, billboards and radio ads.
The difference between union “representatives” and Freedom Foundation employees is that when a government employee opts out, the Freedom Foundation gains nothing but the satisfaction of knowing it helped another worker win his or her freedom. But the union loses $700 to $1,000 or more a year in dues.
Offhand, which side would you say that gives more credibility — and the other more reason to lie?
Lee Saunders and AFSCME may call that an attack, but we call it freedom for more Americans.