You can be pro-union and pro-life. Lots of people are. I love having conversations with hardworking union members who want good pay and working conditions and want the rights of the unborn protected at the same time. It is possible, and it is what I hope for our unions in this state and nation. Sadly, the days of unions focused on their workers are gone. Instead we have top-down political advocacy groups with extreme agendas.
The website for the National Education Association (NEA), America’s largest labor union, starts with this statement when describing their history: “In 1857, one hundred educators answered a national call to unite as one voice in the cause of public education. At the time, learning to read and write was a luxury for most children and a crime for many black children.”
Unions formed for a reason and have done a lot of good over the years. Fast forward to today, however, and the story is different. This summer the NEA declared its support for abortion-on-demand for any reason: “The NEA vigorously opposes all attacks on the right to choose and stands on the fundamental right to abortion under Roe v. Wade.”
In Oregon, the situation is arguably worse. According to the Freedom Foundation, a group that helps public employee members opt-out of union dues, every public employee union member automatically contributes about $1,000 per year to pro-abortion politicians. In 2018, the Oregon Education Association used union dues to support 54 candidates for the Oregon State Legislature, 49 of whom were endorsed by Planned Parenthood or NARAL. Other unions such as AFSCME and SEIU have given hundreds of thousands of dollars directly to pro-abortion groups.
Union leadership has chosen to take a decidedly extreme pro-abortion stance. The result is pro-life union members are no longer welcome if they do not want their dues to support the abortion agenda. The good news is that it is becoming easier than ever to stop paying union dues. Thousands of Oregonians are leaving unions because of their extreme positions.
Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a landmark decision in Janus v. AFSCME. The Court found that it violates a non-union member’s first amendment rights to be compelled to pay union fees. Before this decision, public employees had to pay these fees or risk losing their jobs. Now, these employees have the right to not only leave a union but opt out of funding political advocacy they disagree with.
If you are a public employee union member, I encourage you to do two things today. First, visit www.OptOutToday.com to learn how to stop paying union dues. Second, be an advocate for returning your union to serving members, not pushing a radical agenda.
Being pro-union today means working towards reclaiming the heritage of unions past. It also means understanding the impact of every dollar given to a union while they continue to support unrestricted abortion-on-demand.