SEIU Forces Its Members to Dress Up

SEIU is more concerned with preserving its own power than it is with letting its members dress more comfortably. When San Diego County sent around an email informing its employees that they could wear casual clothes throughout the work week rather than just on Fridays, SEIU responded by filing a complaint against the county. As a result, SEIU members have had to dress up Mondays through Thursdays while non-unionized county employees can dress casually those four days. Presumably, SEIU members are thrilled that their dues money is being spent to deprive them of their choice of what to wear to work.

SEIU is more concerned with preserving its own power than it is with letting its members dress more comfortably. When San Diego County sent around an email informing its employees that they could wear casual clothes throughout the work week rather than just on Fridays, SEIU responded by filing a complaint against the county. As a […]

SEIU Suffers More Setbacks

For the past several years, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) has been dumping millions of dollars of its members’ money into efforts across the country to hike the minimum wage to $15. The membership of SEIU includes many lower-wage workers, such as janitors, security guards, home care workers, and graduate students. Last year alone, SEIU spent $19 million on its Fight for $15 campaign. Is this a good use of SEIU members’ money?

In June of 2014, the Seattle City Council voted to raise the minimum wage in a series of steps to $15 (with annual increases for inflation after the minimum wage reaches $15).  Later that year, the city signed a five-year contract with the University of Washington (UW) to study the effects of the wage increase. The first minimum wage increase of the series took effect in April of 2015. UW researchers found that increase had little impact, which may have been because many businesses were already paying above the minimum wage. The second increase took effect in January of 2016. This time, UW researchers found that the wage hike negatively impacted workers. In fact, that minimum wage increase caused the average low-wage worker’s income to fall by $125 a month, and the wage increase led to about 5,000 fewer jobs in the city. And Seattle isn’t done yet; the next wage hike takes effect in January of next year.

As inconvenient as the UW study is for SEIU and its Fight for $15 campaign, that’s not the only bad news for them: over the past year, three states have rolled back local minimum wage hikes.

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen voted to increase the minimum wage in August of 2015, but the minimum wage increase did not take effect until May of this year due to a lawsuit. The state legislature was displeased with the city’s action, in part because it wants a uniform minimum wage across the state. So the legislature passed a bill to ban local minimum wages. After the UW study was released, the governor of Missouri announced that he would allow the bill to become law reversing St. Louis’s wage hike.

Between late 2015 and early 2017, five Iowa counties passed local minimum wage hikes. Once again, state legislators disapproved of the measures, and passed legislation to ban local governments from setting a minimum wage. The governor quickly signed the bill reversing the minimum wage hikes; but before he did, 10 city councils voted to opt out of their county’s minimum wage increases.

In 2014, the City of Louisville, Kentucky voted to hike the minimum wage; the next year, the City of Lexington, Kentucky followed suit. However, just last fall, the state Supreme Court ruled — nearly unanimously — that cities in Kentucky lack the authority to increase the minimum wage.

With all of these setbacks — and with new evidence that minimum wage hikes are hurting those that are supposed to be helped — maybe SEIU should stop spending so much time and money playing politics and focus its efforts on representing its members.

For the past several years, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) has been dumping millions of dollars of its members’ money into efforts across the country to hike the minimum wage to $15. The membership of SEIU includes many lower-wage workers, such as janitors, security guards, home care workers, and graduate students. Last year alone, […]

Large Oregon Paper Questions SEIU’s Actions

 The largest newspaper in Oregon is questioning SEIU’s decision to continue collecting dues from a woman who has resigned from the union. Although the union will start accepting dues at any time, there is only a two-week window each year during which the union will allow members to revoke their authorization for the collection of dues.

One such [home care] worker is [Maryann] Rose, who in February 2014 – months before the Supreme Court’s decision – signed an SEIU membership application that permits the deduction of dues from her paycheck, according to a federal lawsuit filed on her behalf last week by the Freedom Foundation. So far, no problem. But the application contained a provision making the deduction authorization “irrevocable for a period of one year from the date of execution and from year to year thereafter.” To revoke her authorization, Rose was required to send the union a written notice during a 15-day window that opened only once per year on the anniversary of her authorization’s execution.

Given the ease of signing up for membership and the difficulty of stopping dues payments, you have to wonder whether the SEIU consulted the playbook used by people who peddle cell-phone contracts. Or maybe it’s the other way around.

…Harris v. Quinn gave home care workers like Rose the ability to save money by canceling their union memberships and ceasing dues payments. And that’s exactly what Rose tried to do, according to the suit, which was filed in federal court Friday.

In November 2015, Rose sent the union a letter resigning her membership and asking that deductions for dues cease. She received a letter from the union in December confirming the resignation of her membership in SEIU. However, the letter continued, “deduction of dues will continue until such time as you revoke the dues check off authorization you signed … in the manner and in the time periods set out in that authorization.”

According to Freedom Foundation attorney Nick Dagostino, the deductions had not ceased as of early February, notwithstanding the fact that Rose is no longer a member of the union. This behavior is illegal, he argues. If unions may not collect fees in lieu of dues from nonmembers, why would it be OK for them to collect dues from nonmembers?

Heather Conroy, executive director of SEIU Local 503, declined in an email to discuss the lawsuit, except to call the Freedom Foundation “an organization dedicated to dismantling unions like SEIU” and to dismiss its chances in court.

Time will tell whether Conroy’s legal prognostication is correct, but her union’s treatment of Rose (and, according to Dagostino, many other workers like her) speaks volumes about its respect for the very workers it represents. Shouldn’t it be just as easy to quit a union and stop paying dues as it is to join and start?

 

 The largest newspaper in Oregon is questioning SEIU’s decision to continue collecting dues from a woman who has resigned from the union. Although the union will start accepting dues at any time, there is only a two-week window each year during which the union will allow members to revoke their authorization for the collection of […]

No Thanks

A Pennsylvania caregiver, Don Lambrecht, and the disabled friend he cares for, David Smith, are suing to prevent union interference with their working arrangements. To pay back union supporters, Democrat Governor Tom Wolf issued an executive order allowing a coalition of SEIU and the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees to unionize home companions. Lambrecht has cared for Smith for over two decades, and neither wishes to follow whatever work rules the union would negotiate with the governor. A state judge has issued an injunction preventing the state from negotiating an agreement until the case is resolved.

A Pennsylvania caregiver, Don Lambrecht, and the disabled friend he cares for, David Smith, are suing to prevent union interference with their working arrangements. To pay back union supporters, Democrat Governor Tom Wolf issued an executive order allowing a coalition of SEIU and the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees to unionize home […]