How Family Child Care Providers in Washington Can Opt Out of SEIU 925 Dues
For years, family child care providers were required to pay union dues to SEIU 925 as a condition of employment and the state automatically deducted union dues from providers' Working Connections reimbursement checks.
However, because of the U.S. Supreme Court's June 2014 decision in Harris v. Quinn, family child care providers can now demand that SEIU 925 cease withholding union dues/fees from their state paychecks.
The court referred to the requirement for partial-public employees like family child care providers to pay union dues as a money-making "scheme" for the union and ruled that the mandatory dues requirement violated providers' First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and association.
You can opt out of SEIU 925 dues by completing this form and sending it to SEIU.
Frequently Asked Questions
What do I have to do in order to get the SEIU to stop deducting dues from my checks?
Family child care providers who wish to opt out of paying dues to support SEIU 925 simply have to complete this letter and mail it to the union at the address provided. It's a good idea to send the letter via certified mail or a similar service that provides you with proof of delivery.
Will I still be able to serve Working Connections clients and receive state reimbursements if I opt-out of SEIU 925 dues?
Yes. Under state law, the union contract for family child care providers is binding on all providers in the state, regardless of whether they want to be union represented and regardless of whether they choose to pay union dues. Opting out of paying dues will in no way affect your ability to accept state-paid clients.
If I resign from the union and stop paying dues, will I lose my health insurance?
No. Health insurance is offered through the SEIU Healthcare NW Health Benefits Trust, not SEIU 925. Even though it has "SEIU" in the name, the Trust is separate from the union. According to its website, the Trust is "a nonprofit entity that operates independently of SEIU and participating employers." The state pays the Trust every month to offer health insurance to entitled licensed providers. As long as you continue to meet the eligibility requirements listed in Article 12.4 of the collective bargaining agreement, you will continue to be able to purchase insurance through the Trust even if you no longer pay union dues to SEIU 925.
How much are SEIU 925 dues?
Union dues are currently two percent of providers' monthly reimbursements, up to $95 per month. In 2015, SEIU 925 raised its maximum dues from $90/month to $95/month. The average provider pays about $350 per year in dues.
Can the union retaliate against me if I opt out of paying dues?
No. SEIU 925 has arranged to be the "exclusive bargaining representative" for all family child care providers in the state, meaning that it is impossible for providers to get out of the terms of the contract, even if they cease paying dues.
Article 4.2 of the collective bargaining agreement even provides, "no provider shall be discriminated against, intimidated, restrained or coerced in or on account of the exercise of any rights granted by statute or this Agreement, or on account of membership or non-membership in or lawful activities on behalf of the Union."
If I stop paying dues, will I still be able to receive scholarships and incentives for family child care related training and education?
Yes. Under the state's contract with the union, training and education scholarships, reimbursements and incentives are available to all providers, regardless of union membership status.
How will my relationship with the union change if I resign my membership in SEIU 925 and stop paying dues?
While the terms of SEIU 925's contract will still apply to you and your relationship with your client and the state will remain unchanged as a nonmember of SEIU 925, you will no longer be able to participate in internal union affairs, such as attending union meetings, participating in contract ratification votes or voting for union officers.
How does SEIU 925 spend my dues money?
SEIU 925 does not function like a traditional union. It cannot represent providers in workplace disputes or grievances, because family child care providers have an employer-employee relationship with their families, not the state. The core of SEIU 925's activity involves negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement with the state once every two years. Despite its limited role, SEIU 925 maintained a paid staff of at least 57 last year and collected millions in dollars in dues from providers.
According to reports the union must file annually with the U.S. Department of Labor, SEIU Local 925 collected $8.2 million in dues and fees from its members in 2015.
- $2.4 million (about 29 percent) went to support the SEIU's headquarters in Washington, D.C., to support its massive political, economic and social agenda. The national SEIU regularly supports a host of controversial organizations like Planned Parenthood — the nation's largest abortion provider — which received $20,000 from SEIU last year alone.
- $418 thousand was spent on political candidates and causes in Washington. $40,000 went to support local government officials that have no influence on providers' contract with the state.
- $284 thousand was paid to private Seattle law firms, much of which was used to fight efforts by the Freedom Foundation to inform family child care providers of their newly-acknowledged constitutional right to opt-out of union membership.
- $54 thousand was spent on food and travel.
Also, despite having between $3 and $4 million in cash on hand throughout the year, SEIU 925 increased the maximum dues amount it could charge providers from $90 to $95 per month.
SEIU 925 president Karen Hart received a salary of $101,997 last year.
SEIU national president Mary Kay Henry received a salary of $296,549 last year.
SEIU Council 14's 2015 LM-2 report is available here.
SEIU Council 14's 2014 LM-2 report is available here.
SEIU Council 14's 2013 LM-2 report is available here.
SEIU Council 14's 2012 LM-2 report is available here.
SEIU's National 2015 LM-2 report is available here.
SEIU's National 2014 LM-2 report is available here.
SEIU's National 2013 LM-2 report is available here.
SEIU's National 2012 LM-2 report is available here.