The most effective solutions to complicated problems can sometimes be the simplest. Case in point, one conservative group's strategy to undermine Big Labor is as straightforward as informing certain union members that they do not have to pay dues.
The impetus for this effort came from the Supreme Court's decision in Harris v. Quinn. The ruling forbade a common but very shady arrangement by which several Democratic governors had forced more than 100,000 homecare workers nationwide into unions. States like Illinois, Michigan, Oregon and others invented the fiction that these workers were government employees on the basis that their clients (usually chronically ill family members) were using Medicaid money to pay for their care. This scheme was intended to allow the unions (specifically the Service Employees International Union) to skim from benefits intended for the sick and poor.
Under the Supreme Court's ruling in Harris, homecare workers in this situation are free to opt out of union membership and pay no dues, because they aren't true government employees. And many of them already taken advantage of the decision and quit their union, but many more remain unaware that they have this option, because it isn't something the union especially wants them to know about.
Enter the Freedom Foundation, a nonprofit based in the Pacific Northwest. It recently announced that its efforts have resulted in an estimated 10,000 workers withholding dues, "costing the unions and Democratic candidates over $10 million to date."
"By educating union members about their right to stop paying union dues, Freedom Foundation defunds Big Labor," the organization says in a promotional video released Monday. "That means more money for the workers and less money for liberal politicians."
On Friday, the foundation also revealed new data from a public records request about the work it has been doing along these lines in the Oregon market. It turns out that 11,399 of the 28,667 homecare and personal support workers who had been forced into the union have quit SEIU 503 in the last two years, the very workers to which the Freedom Foundation had been reaching out to in its information campaign. The consequential drop in dues that unions suffer as a result of these campaigns cuts into their cash supply -- a pot that's used to fund the campaigns of Democratic candidates around the country, despite many union members being conservative.
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the SEIU donated $1,461,756 to congressional candidates in the 2016 cycle, all of which went to Democrats. Meanwhile, an AFL-CIO exit poll found 37 percent of union members voted for Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton last November.
It's only logical then to assume the Foundation's efforts will result in fewer union members and less money flowing to Democratic candidates as right-leaning workers are informed of their rights, a venture that could impact campaigns on both the local and national levels in future years.
Emily Jashinsky is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.