Unions Could Face Backlash Over “Occupy” Involvement

Sacramento, CA – As some labor unions express support for and seek to associate with “Occupy” protests around California, critics warn that they may risk losing members turned off by recent protest tactics.

“We are already seeing employees exit their unions in droves,” said Brad Dacus, president of Pacific Justice Institute. “We fully expect that, the more unions align with these out-of-control protests, the more members are going to explore their options for getting out of those unions entirely.” PJI offers free legal advice and resources to employees who assert conscientious or religious objections to union membership. Federal law allows objectors to disassociate from their unions and pert the entire amount of their dues to charity.

Recent “Occupy” activities in California have raised alarms nationwide. Last week, a rambling Occupy San Diego speaker called for “solidarity” with the suspect accused of firing an assault rifle at the White House. Speeches at Occupy Los Angeles have called for violent revolution. Occupy Oakland has sparked riots, vandalism, and a shutdown of the port. Across the state, rampant drug use, public defecation and clashes with police have been widely reported. Yet last Thursday, Big Labor helped organize hundreds of Occupy-style protests around the country, adopting the movement’s central slogan, “We are the 99 percent.” Meanwhile, Yvonne Walker, the president of one of California’s biggest unions, SEIU Local 1000, praised the Occupy Wall Street protest that started it all, telling The Sacramento Bee they are doing a “great job” and “We need to do all we can to support them here in California.”

“What employees need to realize is that they don’t have to be associated with this nonsense,” noted Matthew McReynolds, a PJI staff attorney. “If your union is supporting Occupy protests involving vandalism, disrespect for law enforcement, and calls for violent revolution, and that goes against your beliefs and values, you can assert a conscientious objection and never give them another dime.” More details are available at www.PJI.org under “Union Opt-out Resources.”