News & Blog

05.20.20

Why billionaires want you to opt out of your union

[This message is borrowed from our friends at the Ohio Federation of Teachers (OFT). Educators in Ohio are starting to be contacted by “The Freedom Foundation” to encourage them to “opt-out” of their union membership in an attempt to further weaken unions after the Janus U.S. Supreme Court ruling.]

Who is the Freedom Foundation?

The Freedom Foundation is the latest in a long line of well-funded union-busting front groups that have set up shop in Ohio in an attempt to weaken our union and push their privatization agenda. The goal of these messages is to persuade union members to opt out of their unions, which would weaken our union voice and jeopardize the standards (pay, benefits, working conditions, rights at work) we have won over many years.

Weakening standards in public education, higher education, and children’s services is not just an attack on us, it’s an attack on Ohio’s students and children. It’s no surprise that Freedom Foundation receives funding from Donors Trust (funded by Charles Koch) and the Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation (funded by the family of U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos). The one percent increases their wealth and power by weakening the power of the 99 percent.

How did they get my email address or phone number?

Neither OFT nor your local union has provided any personal information to these groups or to any groups outside of our union. Safeguarding your personal information is a top priority for us.

Opt Out Today / Freedom Foundation has obtained some information through Freedom of Information Requests to state agencies, public employee retirement funds, and school districts. Since that information would not contain mobile phone numbers, we expect they have also purchased phone numbers from a vendor to match up with the names they had received through information requests.

What should I do if I’m contacted by Opt Out Today / Freedom Foundation?

If you are interested in having less power at the negotiating table the next time your contract is up, or you are interested in having fewer rights at work, then opting out of your union might be for you. You are welcome to reply to Opt Out Today / Freedom Foundation. However, you do not need to contact Opt Out Today / Freedom Foundation to opt out of your union. In your union contract, you can read how and when members of your local can withdraw membership.

If you do not want Opt Out Today / Freedom Foundation contacting you and seeking to weaken your union, here are some steps you can take.

  • Let your Building Rep. or Local leadership know that you were contacted.
  • Talk to your co-workers about this. Even though we are physically distanced from each other, it’s more important than ever that we check in with our co-workers, see how they’re doing during this stressful time, and make sure they understand that an anti-union front group may be contacting them.
  • If you were contacted by email:
    • Any email they send should have an “unsubscribe” link at the bottom. Click to unsubscribe. If there is no unsubscribe link, or you are emailed again after you unsubscribe, let us know.
    • Since they emailed you through a mass email list that you did not sign up for, you can also report their email as spam by signing up for a free, anonymous account on spamcop.net
  • If you were contacted by text:
    • They are using very ambiguous language that says “Reply stop to opt out.” It is unclear whether this is to opt out of text messages from them or to show interest in opting out of your union. We expect the language is intentionally vague in an effort to inflate their number of replies.
    • We suggest you respond with: “Please remove me from all text, phone, email, and mailing lists.” If they continue to contact you after that, let us know.
    • You can also block the phone number they are sending texts from, however they can change that number at any time and text from a different number

The Freedom Foundation, funded by out-of-state billionaires, knows how powerful a union voice can be and that’s why they’re spending so much money to collect your personal data and contact you. Let’s show them that we also understand what a strong union is worth.

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