Union Members Have A Choice

Chairman's Corner: President of the SEIU local 580 Affirms Unions Members Have A Choice

So, this week the President of the SEIU local 580, Kathleen McElroy, took some time to respond to a Mike Stenhouse’s op-ed.

The piece that drew her ire was Stenhouse’s celebration of the one year anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Janus decision. As a reminder, this was a court case that provided public sector union members the choice to either join or not join a union.

This ruling held that workers have a first amendment right to choose whether they support the political activities of a union.

In five paragraphs McElroy confirms five times that union members have a choice. Ironically, this is a choice that state workers only have because of the Supreme Court decision. McElroy did not provide her members this choice pre-Janus.

In fact, following the Supreme Court decision, the Providence Journal reported that “McElroy said she has personally been talking to the holdouts in her union.”

McElroy is in a key position of leadership, representing workers that are involved in the day-to-day challenges in government. Her rank and file have borne witness to the tragedies at DCYF and to the state-wide impact of failures with the public assistance system.

Her response to these mis-steps is always to blame management. To be successful, labor and management need to work together.

As a public-sector union, there is an additional responsibility to be aware of the impact on the public. McElroy doesn’t think so. Instead, she seems to oversee an institution focused on controlling the flow of information to membership and to “personally talk” to those considering leaving the union.

In a strange assertion, McElroy charges that Stenhouse’s piece is self-serving. McElroy, who literally owes her position to dues paying members, does not connect these dots for us.

She clearly views her job as maximizing the number of dues-paying members in the local 580. She expresses no interest in ensuring that the system is stable and sustainable. McElroy must figure that there will be an endless supply of taxpayers willing to pay any price.

I suppose she will continue to criticize anybody who wants to provide any other information to her membership. I wonder, will she feel any guilt when the house of cards falls?

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