The Freedom Foundation / Opt-Out Today

AFSCME Members from all across Oregon have been contacted by a group called the Freedom Foundation / Opt-Out Today. They’re telling us to drop our union membership and “give yourself a raise.” AFSCME members have widely seen through this smokescreen and we are choosing to stick with our union.  

Their Real Agenda

Freedom Foundation signed on to a state “reform” plan that called for layoffshiring freezes, and privatizing public jobs. They made their justification for these extreme positions clear in the Bend Bulletin when they wrote about “protecting” taxpayers frompublic employees’ handsome salaries and lavish benefits.” Recently, their coalition funded by out-of-state billionaires lobbied to slash public employee retirement by 40%. 

Freedom Foundation Claim 1: If I leave the union, “will I still receive the same wages and benefits? Yes.”

FALSE: Study after study has shown that in states where more people are members in union, wages are higher because we bargain from a position of strength and push back on groups like Freedom Foundation who call for cuts.

Freedom Foundation Claim 2: “Does opting out affect my pension? No.”

FALSE: We have a pension because we have a strong union.  AFSCME is part of a coalition of unions that have fought three legislative attacks on our retirement in 2003, 2013, and 2019.  There is a well-funded lobby that will continue to attack our retirement and our Union is how we fight back.  Where unions are weak, like in Wisconsin, groups like Freedom Foundation have successfully cut pensions.

Freedom Foundation Claim 3: “Unions don’t benefit their members”

FALSE: Union workers in Oregon:

  • Earn 11% more than non-union workers;
  • Are 17.5% more likely to get health insurance through their job;
  • Are 41% more likely to have an employer-provided retirement plan;
  • Are 35.3% less likely to have family members who rely on public safety net programs;
  • Are 33.8% less likely to belong to a low-income family.

AFSCME members are choosing to stick with our union because we know that we are stronger together. The Labor Education and Research Center (University of Oregon) recently published a study called “Union Advantage.”

PDF icon the_union_advantage_summary.pdf