Poll: 31 percent of Oregonians in unions want out

By   /   June 24, 2013  /   No Comments

More than 30 percent of union households in Oregon want out, survey says.

More than 30 percent of union households in Oregon want out, survey says.

By Shelby Sebens | Northwest Watchdog

In Oregon, 31.2 percent of union households would leave their union if given the chance, according to a scientific survey conducted by a national coalition holding the first ever National Employee Freedom Week.

The poll, conducted by a coalition of 59 conservative and free-market organizations in 35 states, also found that across the country, 33 percent of union households would opt out. The Google Consumer Survey of union households was conducted in May by a coalition of non-profits that received 500 valid responses in Oregon.

It’s the start of a national campaign “to educate union members about their legal rights regarding union membership — and empower them to make the decision about union membership that’s best for them,” according to a press release from Cascade Policy Institute, an Oregon free-market think tank that announced its participation in the campaign that runs through Saturday.

“The Right to Work without third-party interference is more than an economic issue; it is a profoundly moral one as well,” Cascade Policy Institute founder and senior policy analyst Steve Buckstein said in the press release. “In America, no one should be compelled to join a union or to pay union dues in order to hold a job. Hopefully, before long Oregon will grant true employee freedom to every public and private worker in the state.”

A citizens initiative that would allow workers to opt out of unions and any fees is awaiting Oregon Supreme Court approval before proponents can start gathering signatures to get it on the November 2014 ballot, Buckstein said.

The campaign is informing employees in states like Oregon that are not right-to-work states that they have options despite the restrictions on leaving the union.

Northwest Watchdog sent a message to Service Employees International Union  Local 503, the state’s largest public sector union, seeking comment on the survey and will provide an update if we get a response.

In Washington, the number of union households wanting out exceeded the national average, reaching nearly 36 percent.

“There are a number of reasons why an employee might want to opt out of a union. Union members may pay up to $1,000 per year in dues, which is no small amount considering the price of gas, groceries, and even mortgages these days,” according to the Freedom Foundation, a free-market policy group in Washington state that has also joined the National Employee Freedom Week campaign. “Unions may engage in activity which goes against an employee’s religious beliefs or political preferences. Unfortunately, few workers are aware that they do have some options regarding union membership.”

Contact Shelby Sebens at [email protected]

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Shelby formerly served as staff reporter for Watchdog.org.