SEIU Slashes Organizing Budget by $90M Fearing Worst from Trump

Businesses can breathe a little easier knowing that the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) doesn’t plan on engaging in much organizing activity over the next few years. This decision may be as much the result of its failed Fight for $15 campaign as it is fearing Donald Trump.

Over the last three-and-one-half years, the SEIU was reported to have spent over $30 million in support of Fight for $15 and to unionize low-age workers during the campaign. After gaining the endorsements and donations of the SEIU, Democrat Hillary Clinton in August 2015 committed to signing a $15 minimum wage if elected president. Given the reported polling by the media, SEIU thought they had accomplished their national goal.

But President Trump’s win came as a shock to the SEIU. Bracing for lean times during and a continuing populist revolt against big government, an SEIU internal memo reported the union was planning for a 2017 budget that is 30% lower than its 2016 budget. Given that the SEIU has about 2 million government, health-care, and building services members who generate a $300 million annual budget, the cuts mean that America’s second largest union expects to slash $90 million from its annual spend.

Explaining the need for such drastic measures, the memo stated:

Because the far right will control all three branches of the federal government, we will face serious threats to the ability of working people to join together in unions. These threats require us to make tough decisions that allow us to resist these attacks and to fight forward despite dramatically reduced resources.

This is probably a good idea. The SEIU should retrench and rethink its future. With far fewer friends in positions of power, the SEIU will likely see less money flowing into its coffers over the next few years. Furthermore, with a new, conservative Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court, upcoming cases could result in major blows to labor unions’ control over workers.

Matt Austin owns Austin Legal, LLC, a boutique law firm based in Ohio that limits its representation to employers dealing with labor, employment, and OSHA matters. You can call Matt at (614) 285-5342 or email him at