Billionaire Groups Will Be Targeting Public Employees in the Bay Area

What do you do when a Santa Clause paid by the Koch brothers shows up at your workplace?

Just Say No.

They will be standing outside your workplace. They will be mailing you letters. They will be calling you or knocking on your door at home. They may even dress up in Santa suits and tell you to give yourself a raise for the holidays (They did that in Washington state!). All of their efforts will be to try to get you to drop your union membership. Who are they? They are anti-union groups funded by corporate billionaires, and they are coming to the Bay Area.

They will tell you that they stand for freedom and the American worker. They will tell you that your union is a service and that is can be free. They will tell you that our union works against your political well-being. But they won’t have an honest conversation about who is paying them to say these things, and what their goals are.

In the coming weeks and months, we have learned that paid agents will be approaching us and asking us to drop our union memberships. Let’s fact check what they are going to say:

FICTION: This Supreme Court case is about freedom for the American worker.  

Nope! The super-rich corporate elites have worked for decades to push the Janus vs. AFSCME case to the Supreme Court. They are set on weakening unions so it becomes harder for workers to come together and pursue our common interests and protect against things like pension reform, flat wages, and privatizing our work. The super-rich are the ones paying for people to come and talk to us about dropping our union- not the American worker.


FICTION: You can give yourself a raise by dropping your union membership.

False. Local 21 dues are .963%. The value of what we win together in our contracts is much, much greater. Wages, healthcare, and pension benefits have been fought for, won, and maintained by our collective strength and are worth much more than what we pay in dues. In states where there have been significant drops in union membership, wages and benefits have also plunged.


FICTION: Your union spends most of your dues on politics.

Wrong! The overwhelming majority of dues goes to building strong contracts — Local 21 spends less than 2% of its revenue on political matters. Dues are also used for issues-based advocacy only (like protecting our pension measures). Our PAC is separate and funded entirely by voluntary contributions- not dues.


FICTION: You can get all the same union advantages, but for free!

This is deeply misleading. It is true that when a majority of workers in a workplace vote to unionize, our union represents all workers in that group whether they are members or not. However, if workers drop their memberships and stop paying dues, our union will not have the resources to fight back anymore. And that’s the whole point of this misleading statement because the people making it want to weaken unions and drive workers apart. Don’t believe people telling you that you can get something for nothing.


FICTION: You shouldn’t be a member of your union if you disagree with any of the union’s political positions or endorsements. 

Untrue. Unions are democratic organizations, so get involved and make your voice heard! If you decide to stop being a member, that only ensures that your input won’t be included in the conversation. With any democracy, there is an abundance of debate and ideas. Our strength comes from our solidarity with each other, even if we don’t always agree on everything.


Why are they coming after us? Because together we are STRONG. Unions are a place where everyday people who don’t have a lot of power on our own can pool our resources so that our voices are heard. And when we do that, we win. We fight off anti-worker ballot measures, we win raises where our employers insist they can’t include us in their budgets, we demand greater investments in public services for ourselves and our communities. Our strength in numbers will ultimately beat their millions of dollars.  All we have to do is to stick together!

So if you see a Santa outside your office telling you to drop your union, just say no. Tell them: I Choose to Stand with my Co-workers. I Choose LOCAL 21.

Have you signed a Gold Membership Card? If not, stand with your fellow union members and say YES to UNION!