SEIU 503’s Sinking Ship Might Be Sinking Faster Than We Thought…

By Boaz Dillion —

A recent Freedom Foundation blog post noted that Service Employees International Union Local (SEIU) 503 has lost 21 percent of its membership just since last September.

But it seems we were a little too conservative in our calculations.

In fact, according to records requests from the state of Oregon obtained this month by the Freedom Foundation, 26 percent of state employees represented by SEIU 503 no longer pay dues.

When the U.S. Supreme Court last summer issued its ruling in Janus v. AFSCME banning mandatory dues or fees for government employees, Freedom Foundation Oregon Director, Aaron Withe predicted to an Oregon Public Broadcasting interviewer the union would lose 20 percent of its membership in the first year.

Instead, the union has suffered losses of just over a quarter of its membership in a little over six months after the Janus decision.

This membership decline is due in no small measure to the Freedom Foundation’s outreach efforts to public employees across Oregon.

Following the Janus decision, the Freedom Foundation’s Oregon office launched a full-scale campaign to government workers across the Beaver Sate to inform them of their newly affirmed workplace rights.

Because government unions offer no real incentive to maintain membership, many public employees would rather leave the union. Government unions’ focus has been on getting politicians elected and increasing revenue rather than helping the employees they are supposed to represent.

The workers have long realized this but, until Janus, there was little they could do about it.

Union leaders have boasted Janus posed no threat to their activities. SEIU 503’s executive director has even gone so far as to claim its membership has increased since the Supreme Court decision.

Fortunately, the numbers don’t lie as glibly as she does.

Quite simply, SEIU 503’s future at this point looks bleak. Not only is it hemorrhaging members — and the millions of dollars in dues they’re no longer forced to pay — but the unions’ leaders are doing nothing to stop the bleeding.

Instead of trying to mend fences with disgruntled members and attract new ones by actually providing a serving worth paying for, the unions are doubling down on the lies and indifference that got them into this mess in the first place.

Maybe they’ll figure it out eventually. The question is, will there be anyone around at that point to care?

Boaz Dillon works as a policy analyst for the Freedom Foundation Oregon office. His responsibilities include an array of policy research and reform efforts, primarily centered around labor relations, education and government transparency within the state of Oregon. He was born and raised in the Illinois Valley in southern Oregon. In May of 2018 he graduated with a bachelor’s of science from Corban University majoring in Criminal Justice with a minor in Forensic Psychology.