Election Guide 2016

Vote No On I-1501, and Stay Out of SEIU’s Spat With the Freedom Foundation

This measure is advertised as a way to protect seniors from fraud. But it’s really about labor politics.

This measure, written and sponsored by SEIU, purports to be about protecting seniors from fraud. But that’s not really the case. This is: In 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in Harris v. Quinn that caregivers who were receiving state Medicaid dollars for their work could not be considered state employees, and thus could not be forced to join state-employee unions. The liberals on the court rightly decried this decision, since it ignored the fact that caregivers’ wages are set by the states, and in states like Washington those wages were set through negotiations with a union. Thus, caregivers could legally not pay dues while still benefiting from the work of the union. Knowing that such freeloading cuts at the very foundation of organized labor, the Olympia-based anti-union group Freedom Foundation used the state’s Public Records Act to get the names and addresses of all home-health-care workers in the state represented by SEIU and informed them of their right to not pay dues. SEIU has a legitimate grievance with this situation. However, their proposed solution—I-1501—is ill-advised. I-1501 would exempt caregivers’ names and addresses from the public disclosure laws so as to prevent the Freedom Foundation from contacting them. The Pro-I-1501 campaign frames its initiative as a way to protect seniors (and their caregivers) from fraud; to that end, along with changing the PRA, it increases the punishment for bilking seniors. That’s a good talking point, but it’s also a smokescreen. Restricting the flow of state information to prevent people from knowing their rights is a dangerous precedent Washington voters should not be tricked into setting. Vote no, and let’s figure out other ways to help unions thrive in the state.

Read the rest of Seattle Weekly’s endorsements for the 2016 general election here.

More in News & Comment

Photo via Washington Convention Center
Sister’s Work Could Raise Conflict Issues for Jenny Durkan If Elected

T. Ryan Durkan has worked on projects ranging from the Convention Center to Sound Transit.

Photo by Casey Jaywork
DOJ: Seattle Police Are Complying With Consent Decree

But Judge Robart could side with monitor Merrick Bobb, who has said SPD is not in full compliance.

Nikkita Oliver at a campaign’s-end press conference at Washington Hall on August 15. Photo by Sara Bernard
Nikkita Oliver Will Moderate a Mayoral Debate On Oct. 29

Oliver announced plans to hold a debate during her concession speech in August.

What to Look For Thursday When the State Supreme Court Hears the Latest McCleary Case

As each side argues over school funding, the schools chief pushes for more special education money.

Vote Mack, DeWolf, and Patu For Seattle School District

DIRECTOR DISTRICT 4: Eden Mack Eden Mack co-founded Washington’s Paramount Duty, which…

Re-Elect M. Lorena González to the Seattle City Council

As the daughter of Mexican immigrants and a president emeritus of OneAmerica,…

Vote Jon Grant For City Council Position 8

In our endorsement for the August primary, we wrote that “The race…

Re-Elect Pete Holmes City Attorney

But make he do a better job this time around.

Most Read