Union Dues Developments

May 17, 2019

by John McClaughry

A year ago the Supreme Court ruled that public sector labor unions could not require nonmembers to pay agency fees of usually around 80% of full union dues. Here are some recent developments, as the unions try to keep their members from departing:

Three Kent State University workers in Ohio have filed a lawsuit after their union continued deducting dues from their paychecks after they resigned their membership last August.

The Liberty Justice Center and National Right to Work Foundation have launched a federal class action lawsuit to force the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees to refund an estimated $2 million in agency  fees that 2,700 Illinois government workers were forced to pay from May 2017 to June 2018.

Last week, Oregon AFSCME Local 75 inserted provisions substituting union loyalty over workplace seniority in its new collective bargaining agreement. It gives newly hired union members vacation preferences over long-time employees who are not union members. The Freedom Foundation sent a cease and desist letter, putting the Department of Corrections on notice and threatening to file suit if it accepts the agreement.

The long time sweet deal for government unions, including those in Vermont, is over. Now the unions will have to keep their dues paying members coming by offering them something of value, instead of mere compulsion.

Maybe they should also rethink the “us versus them” mentality long a part of the union creed.

John McClaughry is vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute. 

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