SEATTLE – It is protected by Washington state’s lopsidedly Democratic political class, which knows who butters its bread. It has been provided with bespoke law, tailored for its comfort. Nevertheless, the Service Employees International Union has been so avaricious in its objectives and so thuggish in its methods that it has been bested by the Freedom Foundation.
This small conservative outfit, which punches above its weight and is led by Tom McCabe, relishes the SEIU’s accusation that it has committed “tortious interference” with “business expectancy.” This melodious legalese means that the Foundation is guilty of informing SEIU members and fee payers – many of them reluctant participants – of their right not to fill the SEIU’s coffers, from which flow contributions to Democrats.
“Individual providers” are home health care workers employed by those receiving the care – often the caregivers’ loved ones – who use their Medicaid stipends to pay the caregivers. In 2003, the Democratic-controlled Illinois state government imperiously declared thousands of these workers to be government employees simply because their pay comes from Medicaid, and gave the SEIU and a rival union the names and addresses of the workers to facilitate herding them into a union. The SEIU prevailed, often with duplicitousness, and began collecting a portion of the Medicaid payments as dues.
In 2014, however, the Supreme Court held that IPs, not being “full-fledged” government employees, have First Amendment rights of freedom of association and speech to choose not to support financially a union with whose activities they disagree. Washington’s state government makes IPs’ receipt of Medicaid subsidies contingent on association with the SEIU as their bargaining representative. So, the Foundation began notifying IPs of their right to opt out of SEIU fees – the state deducts the money and sends it to the union – that totaled $20.2 million in 2016.