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*** UPDATED x1 *** Fun with numbers

Wednesday, Jun 26, 2019

* John Tillman on the Fox News website

Many public-sector workers in Illinois have indicated they don’t want to continue paying dues. In fact, more than 8,000 public employees stopped sending money to AFSCME Council 31 – that’s at least 12 percent of employees represented by AFSCME, the largest and most powerful government union in the state.

Each of those 8,000 workers had their own reasons for choosing to stop paying the union. Maybe they wanted to keep more of their hard-earned money to spend on their family. Maybe they didn’t like the union’s demands on taxpayers. Or maybe they didn’t like the union’s politics.

Notice that clever use of the phrase “stopped sending money to AFSCME Council 31.” He didn’t claim that 8,000 union members had dropped out. What he’s mainly talking about here are former fair share fee payers who are no longer required to pay their, um, fair share.

The union suspects Tillman’s 8,000 figure was derived from a January federal filing about December union membership which was incomplete due to a paperwork snafu with one of its largest employers. That filing made its membership look about 3,000 smaller than it actually was at the time. AFSCME says it had about 5,000 fair share fee payers at the time of the Janus ruling.

“Despite IPI’s direct-mail and paid advertising campaigns, only a relative handful of former members has dropped out,” a union official said.

And, according to AFSCME, the union has added 1,100 members since the Janus ruling and another 800 new signups are in the pipeline.

Keep in mind that former Gov. Bruce Rauner believed union members would leave AFSCME in droves after Janus. That apparently hasn’t happened even though the Policy Institute has been mailing members urging them to drop out of the union.

I asked the Policy Institute for a response an hour ago and didn’t hear back.

*** UPDATE *** From the Institute…

The number is based on the 2018 and 2017 LM-2s (comparing membership numbers between the two years). The 2018 LM-2 covers the preceding fiscal year (which runs Jan 1 - Dec 31 for AFSCME Council 31) and was filed with the federal government on April 1, 2019. That was the second filing for 2018 (AFSCME also filed one on March 27, then re-filed this on on April 1 with the same membership numbers).

I can’t speak to the ’snafu’, but AFSCME didn’t correct it in its April 1 re-filing of its LM-2 (attached).

The 2017 LM-2 showed AFSCME had 57,995 members. The latest 2018 form showed 57,000 members.

* And here’s a bit of news I missed

The U. S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to review a petition from Illinois home health workers seeking to recover “fair share fees” they once paid to cover the costs of collective bargaining. That leaves in place a Seventh Circuit decision not to certify the proposed class of more than 80,000 health workers who want the roughly $32 million they’ve paid in fair share fees to the Service Employees International Union Healthcare Illinois & Indiana since 2008 to be repaid in full.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Robert the Bruce - Wednesday, Jun 26, 19 @ 10:53 am:

    I wonder how many of the of the 5,000 fair share fee payers at the time of the Janus ruling have continued to pay their fair share.

  2. - Norseman - Wednesday, Jun 26, 19 @ 10:58 am:

    === Fun with numbers ===

    Or, funny abuse of numbers. The Illinois Propaganda Institute strikes again.

  3. - Grandson of Man - Wednesday, Jun 26, 19 @ 11:00 am:

    The IPI is all about spin and deception. AFSCME members have had great success in resisting Rauner and the IPI. They helped get rid of Rauner, overwhelmingly ratified a new contract, will be getting the money Rauner ripped off from them and have been placed at the right pay steps.

    AFSCME Council 31 and its members embody the benefits of union membership. They have something great to present to current and future workers.

  4. - lakeside - Wednesday, Jun 26, 19 @ 11:02 am:

    ==Maybe they didn’t like the union’s demands on taxpayers.==

    [As with all IPI stories, I’ll caveat with: If this were in any way true] Bold move to argue that your contracted salary, benefits and raises are a drain on taxpayers and *that’s* why you’ve… stopped paying dues/quit the union.

    “Me. I am the problem.”

  5. - Candy Dogood - Wednesday, Jun 26, 19 @ 11:07 am:

    One should also presume that many former fair share folks may have opted to sign a membership card for AFSCME in order to vote to ratify the contract.

  6. - Lester Holt’s Mustache - Wednesday, Jun 26, 19 @ 11:10 am:

    == John Tillman on the Fox News website…==

    With an opening line like that, I’d be more surprised if the statements within contained literally any factual information.

  7. - Scamp640 - Wednesday, Jun 26, 19 @ 11:12 am:

    The IPI claims on its website that, “Illinois Policy is an *independent* organization generating public policy solutions aimed at promoting personal freedom and prosperity in Illinois” (emphasis added).

    I am not sure how *independent* they are if the former Governor hired IPI operatives to serve in his administration.

    As far as promoting “freedom,” it seems to me that the IPI is promoting business freedom from having to pay fair wages and business freedom from having to pay a fair share of taxes. Oh well.

  8. - Dex - Wednesday, Jun 26, 19 @ 11:18 am:

    Ah yes the independent IPI who were somehow able to obtain a list of all union employees from the governor’s office so they could send out mailers talking about how dropping out of the union would save me ~1000 dollars a year, as if weakening my worker protections isn’t worth that amount.

  9. - Skeptic - Wednesday, Jun 26, 19 @ 11:23 am:

    I got one of their mailers this week. I have no idea what it said, once I saw “Illinois Policy Network” it went right into the trash. I felt like writing them to demand removing my name off the list but thought, no, I want them to send *more* so they can send their money straight to the shredder.

  10. - City Zen - Wednesday, Jun 26, 19 @ 11:24 am:

    “according to AFSCME, the union has added 1,100 members since the Janus ruling”

    Are those converts from fair share to full dues paying members or completely new? There is a significant difference financially.

    Union membership is hard to gauge. You can join anytime, but the window to opt out is limited. In some states, some unions partner together yet each union will count those members as their own. Hard to trust numbers from any side.

  11. - Glengarry - Wednesday, Jun 26, 19 @ 11:26 am:

    They haven’t sent me squat in the mail. For that I’m thankful.

  12. - dbk - Wednesday, Jun 26, 19 @ 11:29 am:

    Might be interesting to get their take on the new AFSCME contract provisions. I’d enjoy seeing Tillman or one of his “thought leaders” try to argue that the new contract will harm workers.

  13. - Demoralized - Wednesday, Jun 26, 19 @ 11:32 am:


    They’ve already made their displeasure with the new contract known

  14. - MrX - Wednesday, Jun 26, 19 @ 11:39 am:

    I’ve received 2 mailers from them in the last week.

  15. - kitty - Wednesday, Jun 26, 19 @ 11:49 am:

    While the newly ratified AFSCME contract represents a victory for working class Illinoisans, the multimillionaire corporate investor class is stepping up efforts supporting its agenda to drive down wages, benefits and standard of living for the working class. It attempts to do so through deliberate misleading narratives such as this one by Mr. Tillman and others authored by the IPI as well as complicit editors and editorial boards such as Jim Dey and the News-Gazette. Expect more of the same as we near the time to vote for the fair tax amendment.

  16. - Beth - Wednesday, Jun 26, 19 @ 11:56 am:

    It’s a shame that something can’t be done about the freeloaders reaping the benefits of the new contract
    Yet didn’t have to pay towards that effort

  17. - RNUG - Wednesday, Jun 26, 19 @ 12:15 pm:

    It’s anecdotal, but of the former fair share people I know, all became union members, most of them right after the Janus ruling

  18. - Grandson of Man - Wednesday, Jun 26, 19 @ 12:22 pm:

    Good for SCOTUS to refuse the freeloading attempt by former fair share fee-payers, to eat their cake and have it too.

  19. - City Zen - Wednesday, Jun 26, 19 @ 12:28 pm:

    ==to eat their cake and have it too==

    Exclusive. Bargaining. Rights.

  20. - Grandson of Man - Wednesday, Jun 26, 19 @ 12:34 pm:

    “Exclusive. Bargaining. Rights.”

    They took the wages, benefits and job protections. If they didn’t like it they had the right to work somewhere else.

  21. - Demoralized - Wednesday, Jun 26, 19 @ 1:31 pm:

    I’m glad the Court declined to hear the absurd argument that anyone should get a refund of their fair share fees.

  22. - Demoralized - Wednesday, Jun 26, 19 @ 1:33 pm:

    ==Are those converts from fair share to full dues paying members or completely new? ==

    You really are a piece of work sometimes. I know in your too cute by half world it matters. But it really doesn’t. A member is now a member. Your questions is irrelevant.

  23. - Huh? - Wednesday, Jun 26, 19 @ 1:38 pm:

    == John Tillman on the Fox News website…==

    (Checking pockets for wallet, car keys, loose change. Checking hands for rings and watch.)

  24. - Cool Papa Bell - Wednesday, Jun 26, 19 @ 2:07 pm:


    How much money are we talking about here person? I have no idea what dues cost - are they based on what you make - the same for all.

    Just trying to find the context in what Tillman is saying when it comes to keeping more of there hard earned money.

  25. - Skeptic - Wednesday, Jun 26, 19 @ 2:29 pm:

    @Cool Papa Bell: My dues run about $28/paycheck. I have no idea how much fair share would be/have been.

  26. - Grandson of Man - Wednesday, Jun 26, 19 @ 2:30 pm:

    “How much money are we talking about here person? I have no idea what dues cost”

    Say they cost $800 per year. Workers get a heck of a lot for that money: wages, health insurance, job protections, free college with a two-year commitment to stay with the state upon completion of school, member discounts and assistance for goods and services, free online college for AA degrees, mental health assistance, the right to participate, hold office and vote in the union, etc.

    Rauner’s health insurance terms alone would have been way more costly to union members than their dues. He and the IPI are poster children for the importance of unions.

  27. - Cool Papa Bell - Wednesday, Jun 26, 19 @ 2:37 pm:

    @skeptic - thanks. Seems to be a reasonable amount for what a worker would get in return.

  28. - Papa2008 - Wednesday, Jun 26, 19 @ 3:00 pm:

    Could go either way, but I’d like to see the numbers before and after all the back pay and step increase issues are resolved. May be some members want to make sure they get what is owed, and will then drop out. All money owed, being paid on correct level, new contract: Why pay now when I don’t have to?
    Conversely: See what the union did for me? Money well spent.

  29. - Nonbeliever - Wednesday, Jun 26, 19 @ 4:11 pm:

    I belonged first to the SEIU and then later to the AFT. Member for over 35 years total in both organizations.

    I often don’t like their politics but I strongly believe in a persons right to join.

    Also the right of a person not to join. I understand the implications of those who get the benefit and do not pay into the union. However, one should not have to join. They should have no vote in the union and should not be eligible for representation by the union in any manner.

  30. - Skeptic - Wednesday, Jun 26, 19 @ 4:31 pm:

    “They should have no vote in the union” They don’t. ” should not be eligible for representation by the union in any manner.” Yup, but take that up with the Feds.

  31. - Nonbeliever - Wednesday, Jun 26, 19 @ 4:33 pm:


    You re certainly legally correct.

    Does not change my opinion and only shows that this practice should be changed by the Feds.

  32. - The Dude - Wednesday, Jun 26, 19 @ 7:06 pm:

    If you take the benefits and don’t pay full share life’s karma will catch you later. Have fun with that on your back.

  33. - Captain Obvious - Wednesday, Jun 26, 19 @ 9:04 pm:

    Dude, I will risk it, and I hope you and Beth can overcome your bitterness and be happy like me.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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