Freedom Foundation

Saying doesn’t make it so

Skilled propagandists throughout history have always understood that people will eventually believe any lie if you repeat it often enough. SEIU Local 503 seems to be taking a page from their book.

According to the union, for example, it takes no position on abortion, and yet its leaders have stubbornly refused to honor the wishes of one of its members, Elizabeth Stuckart, who is a devout Catholic and doesn’t want her dues or fees funneled to Planned Parenthood or other organizations that facilitate abortion.

Under Oregon law, government employees are required to pay either full dues or a reduced agency fee to a labor union as a condition of employment. The unions, in turn, use the dues money to support a variety of liberal candidates and causes – many of which have nothing whatsoever to do with pay, benefits or workplace conditions.

Workers like Stuckart, whose religious values are offended by such deductions, have the right to claim religious objector status and have their dues money donated to an agreed-upon charity instead.

The trick is getting the union to agree.

In Stuckart’s case, she proposed donating a dues-equivalent amount to a local food bank. But instead of honoring her repeated requests, SEIU 503 has responded by disputing the legitimacy of her religious beliefs and claiming the union has a neutral position on abortion.

Its actions, however, speak louder than its words.

In 2017 alone, SEIU 503 contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to various causes known to be pro-choice or support the pro-choice movement, including:

  • $100,000 to Defend Oregon;
  • $184,638 to Family Forward Action and $20,000 to the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon;
  • $15,000 to Oregon Center for Public Policy; and,
  • $30,000 to “Children First” for Oregon and $35,030 to PCUN.

In addition, SEIU gifted Planned Parenthood with $25,000 and the Center for Reproductive Rights with $5,000 in 2016. This statement by SEIU’s national president, Mary Kay Henry, leaves little doubt of its position:

“We stand united with our allies at Planned Parenthood… Efforts in Congress to de-fund Planned Parenthood by anti-women, anti-choice extremists must be stopped.”

Small wonder Elizabeth Stuckart doesn’t buy into the union’s claim of neutrality on abortion. It’s also clear why she and hundreds of thousands like her will undoubtedly abandon the union entirely this summer when the U.S. Supreme Court issues its ruling in Janus v. AFSCME.

Contrary to the union’s perception, the money Stuckart and her fellow public-sector employees earn belong to her, not the union, and they don’t have to tolerate having it handed over to causes that violate her core principles.

The burden of proof isn’t on her to prove her convictions are sincere. It’s on the union to prove it has a right to fund an extreme left-wing political agenda with the hard-earned dollars of people who’ve made it abundantly clear how they feel on the subject.