In the fall of 2005, the Service Employees International Union collected an extra $6.45 per month from state employees, without their approval. The extra money was earmarked for a campaign against seemingly anti-public union ballot measures proposed by then-governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. After a legal battle that traversed multiple courthouses, the Supreme Court sided with the plaintiffs, a group of union members that disagreed with the SEIU’s extra, unannounced fees.
This is just another example of how union management puts the interests of theUnion, as a separate and independent entity, over the interests of individual employees. Why not poll the members about the fee, outlining concerns about the proposed legislation and leaving the decision to contribute extra dues towards its defeat up to each employee? After all, less than seven dollars a month is not much to ask in defense of employee rights. But the SEIU chose to levy the fee without consulting its members, illustrating that their priorities lie in the preservation of the Union, instead of the preservation of what the Union is supposed to stand for – a vehicle for workers to voice their opinion and collaborate with management for a mutually beneficial business environment.
When the organization that was created to give employees a strong voice in the workplace doesn’t even allow its own members that very voice in its own operation, that organization has outlived its validity.