Over the last week, a letter/email has been circulating among Pasco teachers, and on several social media educational sites in the Tri-Cities. It's urging Pasco teachers to exercise their legal rights in Washington to opt out of the Pasco Teachers Union, or PAE (Pasco Association of Educators).

The letter is in response to controversial comments made by PAE President Scott Wilson during the comments section of the PSD School Board meeting a week ago Tuesday, January 12th. Wilson said, among other things, that parents who are pushing for in-person/hybrid return are exercising "white privelege."  A followup email sent to PAE Union members to "clarify" his position indicated he felt his comments were a "teaching moment,"  implying parents-students and others in the District need to be corrected about their thinking when it comes to racism, systemic racism and white privilege.

The story went viral, even being reported at MyNorthwest.com (AM 770 KTTH Radio) and Breitbart. 

Now, in the last day or two, another email has been sent to PAE members. It does not include any reference in the 'signees' to PAE President Wilson, instead it's signed by various union reps. The letter condemns this opt out effort, and claims the group behind the opt out website, the Freedom Foundation, "sees this as one incident as a chance to weaken us."

Part of the text of this latest email reads:

"...you may have seen a message circulating calling on members to leave our union. This is not about any one comment or any one leader. This is about our ability to advocate for ourselves and our community."

It goes on to say:

"The Freedom Foundation and it's big corporate backers know that what stands between them and completely privatizing education is our unity. Our strength makes quality public education and good family-supporting education jobs possible. They know that every union member is a voice for a fair, people-powered economy-and that gets in the way of their agenda to make the rich richer..."

The website in question is OptOutToday, which lists all unions in all 50 states, and what worker's rights are in each state; letting them know what their opt-out options are. It's a project of the Freedom Foundation.

The comments in the PAE letter are interesting, because the Freedom Foundation is a listed not for profit organization, and this is on their website verbatim:

(we are)."..A 501(c)(3) non-profit think and action tank with offices in Washington, Oregon, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and California. Founded in 1991 by Bob Williams and Lynn Harsh as the Evergreen Freedom Foundation, today we are a national leader in winning the fight for freedom at the state and local level."

Their mission statement reads in part (verbatim):

"...The Freedom Foundation is working to reverse the stranglehold government unions have on our state and local policymaking. There is no way to meaningfully expand freedom, opportunity or prosperity unless we make collective bargaining in government more transparent and accountable to the public, give government employees meaningful choices about whether to join and be represented by a union, and prohibit taxpayer’s money from being unwillingly used to subsidize government unions and influence the political system. Freedom Foundation has the will and skill to take on those who attack our freedom."

The FF are the ones who assisted Slidewaters Park in Chelan when they sued the state over the COVID Lockdowns; in a well publicized stand against over-reach by Labor and Industries. They're also the ones who first raised flags about the state over reporting and inaccurately reporting COVID related deaths in our state, twice.

The email concerning the OptOutToday website, and the Freedom Foundation is seen below.

PAE letter (Facebook
PAE Union Letter (Facebook)
John McKay