Labor leaders from public unions need revenue which has led them to launch a state-level counterattack the Janus decision. Janus is a Supreme Court decision. It declares mandatory union dues and fees for government workers unconstitutional. The Supreme Court rule is that mandating union fees as a condition of employment violates the free speech rights of workers. The landmark ruling overturns a Supreme Court’s 41-year-old precedent that allowed compulsory public sector unionization in the name of labor peace.
The legislative onslaught
The legislative onslaught began just months after the decision in June 2018. Their response is necessary to enhance their declining revenue streams. Unions and their lobbyists are flexing their muscle introducing more than 100 state level bills. A majority of those bills contained union-backed policies, according to the pro-free market Commonwealth Foundation.
Many of the bills, outlined in a new foundation report, unionize new workers without their knowledge or consent. They provide non-member fee workarounds in states such as California and Oregon. In other instances, they undermine legislation enforcing Janus.
Charles Mitchell, president and CEO of the Commonwealth Foundation, said in a news release that: “This report warns that a Supreme Court decision is in danger of being undermined by politically savvy actors at the state level.”
Examples of types of bills
Legislation in Oregon replaces unconstitutional agency fees with “reasonable fees and costs for representation that are unrelated to the negotiation of a collective bargaining agreement” in one Janus workaround. Other bills proposed or enacted in 12 states risk infringing on workers’ First Amendment rights. They require government employees to disclose sundry private information to unions. The information includes cell phone numbers and personal email addresses, according to the foundation.
Across the country more than 70 Janus lawsuits are on file. Nearly half of the lawsuits which are driven by public unions need for revenue are taking place in California and Pennsylvania. Many of the suits seek a return of union fees paid before the Janus ruling. Mitchell said the Janus rights need guarding. He said,
“Advocates for workers cannot rest on their laurels and expect public employees’ newly-restored rights to be respected… More workers are realizing that their union’s leadership is acting for themselves rather than for workers. Our friends and neighbors in public service shouldn’t have to sue to have the same rights as you and I.”
New Hampshire bills
HB622 prohibiting collective bargaining agreements that require employees to join or contribute to a labor union. INEXPEDIENT TO LEGISLATE
SB18 relative to authorized employee wage deductions. VETOED BY GOVERNOR
SB148 relative to notification to public employees regarding their right to join or not join a union. VETOED BY GOVERNOR