It’s not news that the Liberty Justice Center is lying to union members. The organization most known for bankrolling Mark Janus’ lawsuit against AFSCME and then subsequently hiring Mr. Janus as a professional union buster is well known for dishonesty. However, their latest round of misleading mailers in Pennsylvania is a new low in their desperate campaign against workers and raises questions about how they are getting the contact information of Pennsylvania union members.
With widespread press coverage of the failures of the opt-out campaigns led by the likes of the Liberty Justice Center, the Commonwealth Foundation, and other State Policy Network connected and billionaire-funded front groups, it appears the organization has taken a new tactic in their fight against public sector employees – scammy and intentionally misleading class-action lawsuit letters. Over the last few weeks, the Liberty Justice Center has mailed out phishing letters targeting SEIU 668 members promising “refunds” to union members.
As you can see, the letterhead is notably from Chicago, Illinois where the Liberty Justice Center is headquartered. This is not the first time out-of-state billionaires have targeted Pennsylvania union members. The letter, which reads like a public notice of a scam alert and is signed by attorney Reilly Stephens, is clearly marked as “advertising material.” This is because laws force the Liberty Justice Center to disclose that they are spending money to search for clients. Good lawyers don’t need to advertise their services.
In fact, the lawyers at the Liberty Justice Center are so bad that they have failed in nearly every recorded case they’ve attempted to bring around this issue. This includes 21 decisions in 13 different courts covering 10 different states. That’s the type of failure that only billionaires would have the money available to continue funding. In the letter as well, the Liberty Justice Center states that the lawsuit would be “at no cost” to anyone joining. Of course, that is a lie as well.
Much to the continued dishonesty of the Liberty Justice Center and its partners in deception at the Commonwealth Foundation, dues help fund securing good contracts for union members. In fact, SEIU 668 recently completed a collective bargaining agreement with the state that gave members a nearly 18% raise while not increasing any contributions to health insurance. The contract also guarantees worker safety and efficiency processes. The contract received near-unanimous support by SEIU 668 members.
This brings us to our last point. How did the Liberty Justice Center get home addresses of SEIU 668 members? Staff members from connected organizations like the Commonwealth Foundation and Fairness Center have filed requests to access the contact information of union members. However, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that the only shareable information was the names of public employees, not any identifying information such as addresses. The Liberty Justice Center clearly has this information and it is unclear how they got it and, more importantly, what safeguards they’ve taken to protect it.