Freedom Foundation | KNKX

Freedom Foundation

Cacophony / WIKIMEDIA - TINYURL.COM/J5O48E3

There is a big debate, locally and nationally, about whether public-sector workers should be required to pay dues or fees to the unions that represent them.

Despite numerous requests for a veto, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Tuesday signed a controversial bill to privatize the state’s homecare provider system. The Democrat’s signing of the measure followed a contentious fight in the Legislature and accusations that it amounted to a power grab by the Service Employees International Union.

A conservative think tank claims in a class-action lawsuit that some home caregivers paid by Washington state want to leave their union but can't.

The Freedom Foundation, based in Olympia, filed the lawsuit Thursday in federal court in Tacoma.

The group claims some caregivers have written to Service Employees International Union 775 and the state expressing a desire to leave the union -- but the state keeps taking union dues from their paychecks. 

Authors of Initiative 1501 say its central aim is to protect seniors from scammers. But detractors argue the initiative itself has a hidden purpose.

Initiative 1501, on the ballot in Washington state this election, would impose harsher criminal and civil penalties on identity thieves and fraudsters who target seniors and other vulnerable people.

Today is the deadline for groups to submit signatures for statewide ballot initiatives, and one initiative likely to appear on the November ballot is described as a measure to protect senior citizens from financial crimes.

But really it has more to do with a fight between a conservative think tank and a labor union.

“Legislative Building and Temple of Justice” by Dan Ox is licensed under CC BY 2.0 bit.ly/1rnzFOw

Tens of thousands of state workers in Washington are the target of unusual public records requests  from an anti-union group asking for their birth dates. 

The requests came from the Freedom Foundation, a conservative think tank based in Olympia that’s targeting public sector unions. On its web site, the group says it wants to “reverse the stranglehold public-sector unions have on our government.”