Avera, SDAHO Oppose IM 23’s “Fair Share” Union Dues

An eager reader shares this letter from Avera Health to its thousands of South Dakota employees urging them to vote No on Initiated Measure 23, the “fair share” union dues measure:

Letter from Avera Health to employees, October 2016.
Letter from Avera Health to employees, October 2016.

The South Dakota Association of Healthcare Organizations also opposes IM 23, saying that allowing unions to charge non-members for collective bargaining and other services “will hinder health care workforce development.” (Um… how? nurses in Sioux Falls will revolt at fair-share dues, throw away their college educations, and go stock shelves at Hy-Vee? Or they’ll all pack up and go nurse in Minnesota… where Chapter 179A Section 6 Subdivision 3 authorizes fair-share union dues?

Anyway, back to work!

27 Responses to Avera, SDAHO Oppose IM 23’s “Fair Share” Union Dues

  1. So Avera is anti-fair share. This would not have surprised me coming from Sanford Health, but I thought that as a faith-based organization Avera was better than that. They have surrendered their moral authority on this issue. I’m very disappointed!

  2. Avera is not Catholic anymore and hasn’t been for a long time.
    The original Catholic Social Doctrine supports workers rights to organize to promote a fair and living wage. The greatest good for the greatest number.
    Unions promote the right to a living wage and the right to be respected and to be with treated with respect and dignity in the workplace. This all falls into the Catholic belief of promoting the Common Good.

    Look it up practicing Catholics.

  3. Jerry Sweeney

    Is it surprising that a state that routinely receives more from the central treasury, aka the much maligned Federal Government, than it remits would not have people who insist mooching is a family value?

  4. So avera wants right to work for less.They can not compete with the wages in the cities evidently where they pay more,

  5. Dorothy Day, one of the founders of the Catholic Worker movement, champion of worker’s rights, anti-war pacifist, and currently under consideration for Sainthood, based on my understanding of her thoughts, would likely have the same position as Avera- Worker’s have a right to organize but shouldn’t be forced to organize.

    Prior to her conversion to faith, she was a ardent Socialist (nearly Communist) with a willingness to use force to “better society.” But, her conversion grew in her an opposition to coercion or the use of force. It came out of her two new “ideologies” of Personalism (each person’s dignity and choices should be given respect even in disagreement) and the economic philosophy of Distributism (an opposition of anything which centralizes power and a bias to the local) which is in some ways a melding of the two principles of Catholic Social Teaching of Subsidiarity and Solidarity. Usually these two principles are considered in an either/or analysis (this situation requires subsidiarity or this one calls for solidarity). Day’s approach was more both/and where one looked to pursue the application of both principles simultaneously.

    While the current laws which say a vote of 50% of workers can form a union, Day’s position would be if 10% want to form a bargaining unit, she’d support them. But, she’d also respect the 90% who don’t want to be part of the bargaining unit. Similarly, even if 90% chose to participate in a bargaining right, she’d respect the 10% who didn’t. Dorothy Day was in many ways complex with a complex personal history. But, in other ways, she was quite simple- she opposed force of any type.

  6. Tyler Schumacher

    Anyone have any rebuttals to their concerns over the ambiguity of the measure? And unions aren’t required to to include all employees in their bargaining, are they? I understand the reasoning behind ‘fair share’, but I don’t get the vitriol.

  7. John Kennedy Claussen, Sr.

    Workers who want the benefits of a union reality without paying for it are a lot like the “47%” which Romney referred to a few years ago. But isn’t it amazing how when the actions of the alleged “47%” directly or indirectly benefit the business community, or the employers in this case, that then their actions are all a sudden in vogue with the anti-union Republicans forces found in this state and nation…

  8. You can twist it anyway you want Troy.
    Exactly John, and South Dakota, along with Mississippi will continue to rank the last in the nation because of their stupidity and stubbornness. SD workers are a rich business man’s dream.
    RNs – come on over to MN where you can start at $32/hr right out of college.

  9. Jenny,

    You are correct the right to organize is a component of Catholic Social Teaching as you said. All I’m saying is Avera’s position does nothing to restrict the rights of workers to organize and thus is not a position contrary to Catholic Social Teaching. Further, the use of force and coercion to further Solidarity (one half of the Teaching) is tempered by Subsidiarity (the other half of the Teaching).

    Look it up former Catholics.

  10. I disagree Troy, any respected nun would support IM 23 because it’s a means to an end to benefit all workers to get the right to a living wage they deserve.

  11. Since Troy is speculating on what Dorothy Day’s position might be on Fair Share, I’m going to speculate that many of the Presentation Sisters – past and present – are or would be very disappointed by Avera Health’s position on this issue.

  12. Jenny,

    I’m not sure what you disagree with but for your information the concept “the means justify the ends” is considered by the Church the heresy known as “consequentialism.”


    You are correct I am speculating about Dorothy Day but I’m not speculating on conjecture but a study of Dorothy Day for literally decades. I welcome any critique of my presentation of my understanding of her views and am open to consideration of a different understanding. Post-conversion, her anti-coercion, anti-force inclinations permeate much of her actions and writings. I’m not sure what basis you are speculating on whether or not “many” are or would be disappointed.

  13. Unions are bad. They are bad. And they are dying a hard death.

    But the non-profit grudznick Inc. will bill you for services rendered whether you wanted them or not.

  14. Robert McTaggart

    “Onions are bad. They are bad.”

    Fixed it for you ;^) .

  15. Grud my company makes about 4 billion a year and I have a great retirement union and healthcare so go cry on another blog

  16. John Kennedy Claussen, Sr.


    Would it be fair to apply the Day logic to Catholicism itself, too? If the Vatican takes one position for instance on abortion or birth control, then it would be okay for there to be an American Catholic position on these issues as well, that may differ, whether it be in the majority or minority and that that position should still be allowed to exist within the church with full rights for those members who have a belief in opposition to a Vatican edict regardless of their numbers?

  17. So Troy, it’s okay for the Catholic church to force (maybe even physically force a woman, who knows when it comes to the Church) a pregnant single poor woman to give birth to a baby when she has no desire to be a mother?
    So essentially Troy is saying it’s bad, just bad, to force everyone to join a union and pay dues, but when it comes to abortion, women must be forced to have them or they will burn forever in hell.

  18. I meant when it comes to pregnant women, then the Church can FORCE a woman to give birth. After all, they may burn in hell if they choose abortion.
    But wait then there’s that forgiveness thing. Oh, Christianity is just so bizarre. If abortion is wrong that’s okay, b/c women will be forgiven anyway, right?

  19. owen reitzel

    easy to explain.you have 2 people who pay union dues and 1 that does not. But the 1 non-union gets the same contract that the 2 union paying members. Seem fair to anybody?

    That non-union person should pay for the same dues as the others or get a different ( and probably less) contract.

    He shouldn’t get the benefits for free.

  20. Don Coyote

    @Owen Reitzel: Oh f&*(@g Jeebus. The Supreme Court has ruled that unions can negotiate members only contracts. End of discussion.

  21. Porter Lansing

    Union workers are the top skilled workers on any jobsite. They drive the caterpillars and road graders. They operate the cranes. They insert the hospital I.V.’s into your hand. They teach and discipline your children when you’re too busy and self involved. They clean your hotel room so you can check in on time. Grudznick shows he has little ability to get along with co-workers, certainly any that would have given him more than one day in a six month union probationary period. Maybe that’s why he’s so sour? Because he could never fit in with the best of the best.
    ~ “Union scabs are like people who want you to buy for them at Sam’s Club but won’t buy a membership.”

  22. Owen, I would correct one thing: the non-union member is not charged full union dues or made a full member unless he or she chooses to do so. Fair share only charges the associated costs incurred by all members of the collective bargaining unit.

    Don, in the context of a collective bargaining unit (a group of workers is recognized as a group – not individuals) the union cannot bargain against the interests of the non-union members of a collective bargain unit. That is really the hitch here – the presence of the collective bargaining unit allowing the “freeloading” of non-paying members.

  23. Health care in South Dakota has relied heavily on a continuously renewing talent pipeline lacking the organization to unionize like their counterparts in other states. They harp about a nursing shortage to increase their labor pool, then use the abundance of nurses to keep wages low. Next time you are at Sanford or Avera in Sioux Falls, look at the ages of the workforce, you will see few nurses remaining in the hospital realm that have been there longer than 10 years, many less than 5. Many seek further education to enhance their wages (NP, CRNA), realize the cost of childcare outweighs the wages, or move to greener pastures ($8/hour difference between starting wages makes a big difference).
    So long as they can keep the warm bodies at the nurses stations, there will be no change, their encouragement to vote no on 23 is just one more nail in that no change coffin.

  24. Don Coyote

    @o: Unions are engaging in a classic case of circular reasoning (begging the question). The union bosses demand an exclusive position (that is not required of them) to compel workers to pay union dues and then label any worker not so inclined as a free rider when they decline union representation.

    Unions are only required by Federal law to represent non-union workers when unions insist on exclusive bargaining representation. The SCOTUS has held that absent these exclusive bargaining rights, unions are free to negotiate members only contracts. This is a conundrum of the unions own making and non-members should not be coerced into having to pay any agency fees. Vote NO on IM23.

  25. owen reitzel

    #Don. I’ve seen a union negotiate for its members and non-members have enjoyed the same negotiated agreements that the members. I’ve see it for over 40 years. End of discussion.

  26. sdaho-who are they and why do they side with management (Avera)? sad. stand up and vote for 23!!!!

  27. Unions are dying. This sad attempt to save them will go down in hard, tarred and rolled in dried fall leaves, then set aflame. Unions are bad, they are bad.

    You cannot make people pay for services they don’t want, or ol’ grudznick will come and prune your hedge and you will have to pay me, and then I will prune your hedge again, and again, and again. You will have no choice.