Re: “How unions are racking up new wins in Democratic-controlled Washington state” [Aug. 2, Local News]:
Joseph O’Sullivan’s article documented the control government unions exert over public policy in Olympia, but the coercive source of that influence deserves more attention.
For decades, public employees could be fired for not paying union fees. The U.S. Supreme Court struck down such laws in 2018, holding that unions must secure employees’ voluntary authorization before deducting dues from their paychecks.
Unions turned to state lawmakers to unionize more workers and shore up their coercive dues-collection scheme. The Democratic majority delivered.
Public employees are now routinely unionized without the opportunity to vote in secret-ballot elections. New hires are subjected to coercive, captive-audience membership pitches with union organizers. While dues deductions can be authorized in writing, electronically, or over the phone at any time, deductions can only be canceled in writing during arbitrary escape periods.
When these heavy-handed tactics fail, some unions have even been caught forging employees’ signatures on membership forms.
Still, with Freedom Foundation assistance, tens of thousands of public employees are successfully finding the exits. In June, more than one-third of the 36,000 Washington Federation of State Employees-represented employees at state agencies had no dues deducted from their paychecks.
Maxford Nelsen, director of labor policy, the Freedom Foundation, Olympia