Forced union dues collection: Bigger problem than most realize


Letter to the Editor

Unions of government workers in Oregon have lavish bank accounts resulting from mandatory dues payments by state workers, who currently have no choice whether to support the union financially or not.

Many voters applaud current efforts to mount initiatives giving state employees a choice whether to join or pay dues to a union or not. There has been difficulty in obtaining a fair ballot title from the Attorney General and Supreme Court, and it isn’t certain that an initiative will reach the ballot, given the apparent alliances between the unions and current incumbents in State government.

Controversy over the ballot title is part of a much larger issue: that of the excessive power government unions have managed to garner for themselves and how they are using that power. Union leaders can be just as aggressive as any corporation executive, and in bargaining with a government agency there is less incentive for bureaucrats to hold wages/benefits at reasonable levels because the money doesn’t come out of their pockets or balance sheet. There are almost no brakes on what these unions can demand and get, as they hold a big purse for their preferred candidates’ campaigns.

What is especially galling to many unwilling union members is that the unions are so active politically in aiding the Democratic Party and its left-wing causes, in particular open borders and benefits enticing illegal immigration.  Wages have fallen proportionately with the arrival of millions of illegal and legal job-seekers to the U.S. This hurts citizens financially, as well as degrading their quality of life due to overpopulation and stresses on the environment.

The SEIU (Service Employees International Union) Local 503 spent $100,000 in support of giving official driver cards to illegal aliens in the November 2014 Oregon election (Measure 88).1 Other unions also contributed substantial sums.

How does massive immigration help citizen workers or citizens generally? It helps only the wealthy and the teachers and social workers needed to dispense benefits to the millions of poor foreign-born. Unions should be opposing illegal and excessive legal immigration. They should not be allowed to collect mandatory dues from state employees who realize the union’s policies are harmful to them and to this country.

The nation’s immigrant population (legal and illegal) hit a record 42.4 million in July 2014, an increase of 2.4 million since July 2010. The Pew Research Center has released a new report that projects the U.S. population will reach 441 million in 2065 – an increase of 117 million from the current number. Over the next 50 years, Pew projects that 88 percent of this increase will be due to immigration.

Trade unions supporting open borders and massive immigration are in reality in league with business interests who want the same thing, but this is not what average citizens want. Citizens are finding out, more and more, that they’re the losers in such policies.

State workers who object to being forced to take money out of their salaries to give to unions that work against the best interests of the public and the nation are fighting for the future for themselves and their fellow citizens.

There are many problems in current immigration management. Serious fraud and abuses exist in the visa programs, and the overall volume of immigration is much too high to be sustainable.

Unions, especially unions of government workers, should work to help solve these problems, but they do not. It appears some union leaders are ideologically opposed to national boundaries.

An important step in righting the present untenable situation is to stop mandatory dues payments to government worker unions. To accomplish this through the State Legislature, we need to elect more legislators who will sponsor and support the change, and who will truly represent the interests of citizens. We need to elect Attorney Generals and to install court judges who will ensure that ballot titles are neutral and will describe an initiative in accurate, understandable language.

Elizabeth Van Staaveren
Long-time member of Oregonians for Immigration Reform
McMinnville, Oregon

1ORESTAR records for the 2014 campaign of YES on Oregon Safe Roads (i.d.#16889) $10,000 on 5/14/14; $45,000 on 8/27/14; $22,500 on 9/24/14; $22,500 on 10/15/14