Freedom Foundation “Freedom Tour” updates citizens in Sequim
by Sue Forde for Citizen Review Online
Jan. 8, 2014 – Mark Dalan and Ron Valencia, both of the Freedom Foundation of Washington State (FFWA), presented updates and information to a group of approximately 25 Clallam County citizens at the Los Palomas Restaurant.
Dalan discussed the two Sequim initiatives which took place in 2013, receiving sufficient signatures to go on the ballot, but were held off by the courts after the City of Sequim pursued legal action to stop them from being voted upon by the people. The initiatives would have allowed public union members to choose whether or not to join a union; and would have given transparency for citizens (whose taxes support the government workers) to observe the union negotiations taking place. There were three other cities last year in the State which attempted to place similar initiatives on the ballot, of which only one is moving forward – the city of Chelan. The others were also stopped by judges. Dalan said they are working to try and achieve change on behalf of the citizens through county commissions and city councils this year.
Valencia gave a legislative and executive update, stating that Gov. Inslee is pressing for tax increases in a variety of ways, including capital gains, cap and trade, bottled water, and many others. If his “carbon” tax passes, businesses would have to purchase carbon credits, which would result in higher prices for the people purchasing their products. He talked about the Senate’s new Republican majority, which will make it very difficult for Inslee to get his proposed tax increases through; however , Inslee has talked about using executive orders similar to what President Obama has been doing. The House has a slim Democrat majority now – 52-47, with another possible seat going to Republicans later this year.
Valencia and Dalan talked about union spending for Democrat candidates, especially heavy in the Wilson race in Vancouver, where they donated about $350,000 (with another $225,000 “soft” money) to the Democrat candidate. Republican Wilson won the race, despite the heavy financial opposition.
Mark Dalan then informed the group about the U.S. Supreme Court decision “Harris v. Quinn”, which affects the previously mandatory requirement of joining unions for home healthcare workers. The result of that decision allows home healthcare workers to “opt out” of having to join a union – affecting approximately 60,000 workers in Washington State. Freedom Foundation wanted to make the Washington workers aware of their right to opt out; however, they have been stopped for now by a union lawsuit, of which the SEIU is the biggest union fighting their ability to notify people of the right to withdraw if so desired.
Freedom Foundation had filed a public request form, according to Dalan, to obtain the list of names of the workers affected. DSHS had the list, but stalled in giving it to them; meanwhile, the unions put together a lawsuit to stop FFWA from sending out information. Attendee Jacques Dulin suggested we need to change the law. FFWA was able to obtain a list of day care workers, also previously forced to join a union, and send out letters advising them of their right to opt out just two days before a restraining order went into effect to try and prevent such action for that group. As a result, approximately 500-700 workers opted out of the unions.
Dalan said the unions are running scared, and are hiring very expensive attorneys in Seattle to sue at every turn. In Thurston County last year, FFWA won one of the lawsuits, and the union had to reimburse attorney’s fees of $15,715.40, a victory for folks fighting for the right to have the choice of joining a union or not. “If someone doesn’t stop them [the public unions], we’ll end up like Detroit – broke,” Dalan said.
Dalan and Valencia said 2015 will be a very interesting year. FFWA has hired two more attorneys, and are fighting a “David and Goliath” type of battle. “David is winning,” Dalan said. They currently have 22 people on staff, including former Washington State Supreme Court Justice Jim Johnson. They asked for each person to help in the fight by joining as a member.
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