SEIU 503: Oregon’s Incredible Shrinking Union

By Freedom Foundation —

According to official Oregon numbers, between June and September 2018, thestate’s largest union was abandoned by more than 20 percent of its members.

Because they could.

On June 27, the United States Supreme Court issued its landmark Janus v. AFSCME ruling outlawing mandatory dues and so-called “agency fees” in the public workplace. For the first time in 40 years,government employees were given a choice about whether to support the union and its radically liberal political agenda, and thousands voted with their feet.

But it’s one thing to issue a ruling. It’s quite another to make unions, who’ve grown accustomed tothe idea laws apply to someone else, comply.

Consequently, the Freedom Foundation announced within days of Janus it was launching a full-scale campaign to contact public employees in Oregon, Washington and California. Aaron Withe, theorganization’s Oregon director said at the time, “It takes the Freedom Foundation to tell thesepeople about their rights. The state and the union certainly won’t.”

Withe explained the first target of opportunity would be the state’s largest union, SEIU 503. In one of the largest declines in a post-Janus world, SEIU’s LM-2 Report reveals that in just the first three months of Freedom Foundation’s Oregon campaign, their membership dropped from 58,384 to 45,741 — a number even Withe predicted would take a full 12 months to achieve.

In documents obtained from a public records request made this month, the state revealed evenmore scathing numbers. Oregon Department of Transportation’s union membership declined by 33 percent; the Department of Forestry was down 39 percent and both the Department of Revenue and the Department of Agriculture dropped a whopping 48 percent.

Withe told Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB): 

“This is great news for those who’ve opted out, since it means they get to keep those hard-earned dollars in their pocket, rather than subsidizing the union’s political agenda. Until the unions can start to actually provide a benefit to their membership, these numbers are only going to get worse and worse.”

Predictably, the unions responded by pressuring their paid mercenaries in the Oregon State Legislature to propose a bill that effectively sets up a taxpayer-funded slush fund to circumvent these losses in membership — and their dues to union coffers. HB2643 would force the taxpayer to pay these union dues directly and gives public employees a pay cut equivalent to union dues.

This short video explains how it works.