1. The big picture
The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 668 represents primarily public sector social service workers. Based on SEIU 668’s own financial reporting,1 about 24% of the union’s spending went to the “representational activities” most directly related to labor representation, such as collective bargaining negotiations, handling grievances and arbitration proceedings. About 49% of SEIU 668’s overall spending went to running the union: salaries; union employee health and retirement benefits; general overhead (including expenses such as office security guards); multiple union leadership conferences; and purchase of investments and fixed assets, which includes land, buildings and cars.
2. Dues money pays for politics
The Janus v. AFSCME U.S. Supreme Court decision in 2018 simply means that non-union workers no longer have to pay fair share fees to their workplace union as a condition of employment. However, for workers who remain SEIU 668 members, Janus changes nothing about how union dues are spent: they can still be used for political purposes.
You may not have known this, but your member dues can be used for a variety of “soft” political activities, such as get-out-the-vote drives, election mailers, lobbying of legislators and public marketing campaigns. These must be itemized and reported annually to the U.S. Department of Labor on an “LM-2” financial report. (We’ve provided the latest one, released in March 2020, below).
In 2019, SEIU 668 spent over $55,000 of your dues on “political activities and lobbying.” It’s an unusually low figure for SEIU 668, over $300,000 less than the previous year. It’s in line with the over $3 million decrease in overall union spending, and could also reflect a change in how they code their spending. All told, SEIU 668 has spent over $2.9 million since 2010 of members’ dues money on “political activities and lobbying.” Most employers collect this political money directly from members’ paychecks via payroll, at taxpayer expense.
3. Who is getting your dues money?
The national SEIU, which receives money from local unions, supported a variety of political and ideological advocacy groups and causes around the country. Contributions to political organizations totaled at least $21 million in 2019, according to SEIU’s financial report, but millions more to such groups were also logged as “contributions, gifts and grants.”
- Here are a few big-ticket examples of the progressive and partisan Democratic causes your dues funded in 20192:
- $50,000 to influence ballot initiatives, via the Ballot Initiative Strategy Center.
- Over $217,500 to their own SuperPAC, United We Can, and over $8 million to their political education and action funds
- A portion of dues went to these political and ideological organizations:
- $1.5 million to For Our Future Action Fund
- Nearly $500,000 to minimum wage campaigns through Fight for 15 Action Fund and Raise Wages Now
- Over $434,000 to the Center for American Progress Action Fund
- Over $343,000 to America Votes
- $250,000 to Repairers of the Breach
- $200,000 to Progress Now Colorado
- $200,000 to The Organizing Group
- Over $100,000 to the Center for Popular Democracy and its action fund.
- $100,000 to the Progressive Caucus Action Fund
- $75,000 to Democracy Alliance and $25,000 to the associated Committee on States
- Over $50,000 to Planned Parenthood Action Fund
- $50,000 to New Venture Fund
4. Your dues rise every year
In 2019, SEIU 668 collected $10.8 million in dues from employees. That is approximately $1 million less in dues revenue than shown on the 2018 report, which already accounted for several months of lost fee-payer revenue3 after non-members were freed by the Janus decision. This reflects the loss of over 800 members since 2018. Dues are 1.39% of members’ salaries, which means dues increase every year because salaries increase every year. Still, the dues lost by members quitting overwhelmed the dues increases per member.
 Form LM-2 Labor Organization Annual Report, Service Employees International Union Local 668, U.S. Department of Labor File Number 505-025,
 Form LM-2 Labor Organization Annual Report, Service Employees International Union, U.S. Department of Labor File Number 000-137, Year 2019.
 SEIU 668 changed from a fiscal year reporting period to calendar year reporting period in 2019. The 2017-18 LM-2 covered October 1, 2017 – September 30, 2018, with a two-month addendum report. The latter is not reflected in this analysis.