A union changes its spots

Chantal Lovell

Communications Director

Chantal Lovell
June 4, 2021

A union changes its spots

CPC’s work to reduce the corrupt influence of government unions in state politics achieved a historic win with the announcement that one of the state’s most powerful unions will end political spending. 

Elected last week as president of Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1000, Richard Louis Brown said he’ll end the union’s political spending, reduce dues by half and allow even non-members to vote in union elections.

We’re not surprised – we made this prediction when we began our work to reduce union revenue three years ago.

In 2018, following the Supreme Court’s decision in Janus v. AFSCME, we told you that we could reduce membership in California’s government unions through massive education efforts. 

We predicted the resulting loss of union dues income would force union leaders to reduce their political spending in three years. 

In counties where donors have supported the California Policy Center’s work, we have helped cut membership in government unions by as much as 26 percent. We have been so successful that unions routinely warn their members to resist the Cal Policy. 

In response to steep membership revenue declines, SEIU has run expensive campaigns warning members to “PROTECT YOURSELF AND YOUR CO-WORKERS from the California Policy Center and Other Anti-Union Groups.”

Let’s be clear: SEIU isn’t ending political spending out of a sense of honor. They’re doing this to head off total financial collapse. 

Your generous financial support helped us achieve this historic win, and will equip us to truly get unions out of politics. Thank you for being on the team.

Now is the time to celebrate – but not to pause. We have a long way to go. Increasingly deprived of union dues income, some unions, like SEIU, will reform themselves; others will continue to struggle to maintain their corrupt hold on our state. And, while declaring he plans to technically get SEIU out of politics, Brown has also outlined plans to maintain whatever political influence the union still has. 

But building on this win, CPC will continue its work to eliminate government barriers to liberty and prosperity in California. I invite you to join us in a virtual celebration of workplace freedom in California, and the third anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision in Janus v. AFSCME that made it all possible. During the hour-long, online event, you’ll hear from people like Mark Janus and state Assemblyman Kevin Kiley, along with others who are making a difference in California. Mark your calendars for 6 p.m. PST on Wednesday, June 23, and stay tuned for a formal invite.

—Will Swaim 

Quote of the week

“The cost to our kids of keeping them out of school and remote learning is immense and far outweighs any benefit.” – Scott Morrow, San Mateo County’s health officer

More from CPC

CPC and allies in the news

Classroom headlines 

Union news

Other things we’re reading

Connect with CPC

Want to keep up with CPC and our partners during the week? Follow us on Twitter, join our Facebook community, and sign up to be part of the growing Parent Union.  

Want more? Get stories like this delivered straight to your inbox.

Thank you, we'll keep you informed!