The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) has released its 2016 financial disclosures with the Department of Labor. (You can see them here.) The numbers aren’t pretty.
An analysis by the Center for Union Facts (CUF) reveals that the union spent more than $19 million on the Fight for $15 in 2016. CUF estimates that the total cost is at least $90 million since 2012—the year of the campaign’s launch—when key worker centers and law firms linked to the campaign are included in the total. Last year, nearly $14.8 million went to Workers Organizing Committees (WOCs) that help run the SEIU’s campaign and more than $1.7 million went to public relations firm BerlinRosen Public Affairs. Some of the recipients include the Fast Food Workers Committee ($3.6 million), Workers Organizing Committee of Chicago ($2.4 million), and Mario Cuomo Campaign for Economic Justice ($250,000). (The latter orchestrated New York’s job-killing $15 minimum wage mandate.)
The $19 million figure is likely a conservative estimate, as it excludes items such as staff salaries, expenses paid for additional legal services, and money paid to certain advocacy groups like the left-wing Economic Policy Institute.
While the SEIU’s membership increased from 1,887,941 employees in 2015 to 1,901,161 employees last year, the union’s membership has generally declined over the past six years: The SEIU claimed 1,921,786 union members in 2011, the year before the start of the Fight for $15—almost 21,000 more employees than it had in 2016. You read that right: Despite spending at least $90 million to unionize the restaurant industry, the SEIU has lost nearly 21,000 union members! As Fox News’ Perry Chiaramonte reports, “Membership for the union … has been waning since the start of the initiative.”
Employees are basically telling the SEIU that they’re not interested in what the union is selling, reminiscent of the failed OUR Walmart campaign from a few years back.
Will the SEIU finally learn its lesson in 2017?