Labor leaders have launched a state-level counterattack against the Janus decision because public unions need revenue. Janus is a 2018 Supreme Court decision. It declares mandatory union dues and fees for government workers unconstitutional. The Supreme Court ruled that mandating union fees as a condition of employment violates the free speech rights of workers. The landmark ruling overturned the Supreme Court’s 41-year-old precedent. Precedent was allowing compulsory public sector unionization.
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 contain union-backed policies. That assertion comes from a report from the Commonwealth Foundation.
Many of the bills, outlined in the 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.
Legislatures can undermine SCOTUS
Charles Mitchell, president and CEO of Commonwealth Foundation, said via 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.”
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.
More than 70 Janus-related lawsuits have been filed across the country. Nearly half of the lawsuits 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 rights Janus establishes 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’s contribution
New Hampshire had 3 of the anti-Janus bills this year. The bill descriptions and dispositions are as follows:
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
The reason these bills are in your legislature is that nationally labor leaders have launched a state-level counterattack the Janus decision because public unions need revenue.