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Wall Street Journal Highlights SEIU’s Fight for $15 Boondoggle

graphIn today’s Wall Street Journal, CUF Executive Director Richard Berman explained how the Service Employees International Union’s (SEIU) Fight for $15 has failed to recruit new union members. Citing the SEIU’s recently released 2016 financial filings, Mr. Berman finds that the union has spent at least $90 million on the campaign since its launch in 2012. However, in his words:

The SEIU might be losing hope: A Center for Union Facts analysis found that the union paid workers organizing committees $14.7 million in 2016, down from $16.4 million the year before.

With membership declining, the SEIU’s cutback was inevitable. Since 2011 the union has shed nearly 21,000 dues-paying members, despite spending millions of dollars trying to unionize restaurant workers. The restaurant industry—a major unionization target for decades—boasts a union-membership rate of only 1.7 percent.

The union’s failure to convert the Fight for $15 into new members presents an existential threat to its business model. Andy Stern, the former SEIU president, argues that the union cannot continue paying for its social-justice work with revenue it makes from bargaining contracts “because collective bargaining is shrinking.” Harold Meyerson, executive editor of the American Prospect, admits that the goal of unionizing fast-food workers is “as elusive today” as it was when the Fight for $15 began.

The full piece, titled “Honey, I Shrunk the Union,” can be read here.

Categories: SEIU