Shouldn't union-represented workers have to opt IN to have money withheld?

Feb 2011
17,070
6,098
Boise, ID
Recent story on which this topic is based, from my former home state: Gov. Dunleavy thrusts Alaska into a leading national role as he takes on union procedures

Up until last year, public sector unions in non-Right-To-Work states pretty much forced new employees in union-represented jobs to sign withholding authorizations. These "dues authorizations" basically said "Whatever I am required to pay the union in order to be able to keep my job, I agree to have it withheld and sent to the union." If they didn't agree to this, they would have to independently send money separately to the union, or else the union would order the employer to fire the employee. That's what "union security agreements" are (or were).

Then in June of 2017, the Supreme Court said it was unconstitutional for public sector employers to do this. Specifically, it said:

For these reasons, States and public-sector unions may no longer extract agency fees from nonconsenting employees. Under Illinois law, if a public-sector collective bargaining agreement includes an agency-fee provision and the union certifies to the employer the amount of the fee, that amount is automatically deducted from the nonmember’s wages. §315/6(e). No form of employee consent is required.

This procedure violates the First Amendment and cannot continue. Neither an agency fee nor any other payment to the union may be deducted from a nonmember’s wages, nor may any other attempt be made to collect such a payment, unless the employee affirmatively consents to pay. By agreeing to pay, nonmembers are waiving their First Amendment rights, and such a waiver cannot be presumed. Johnson v. Zerbst, 304 U. S. 458, 464 (1938); see also Knox, 567 U. S., at 312–313. Rather, to be effective, the waiver must be freely given and shown by “clear and compelling” evidence. Curtis Publishing Co. v. Butts, 388 U. S. 130, 145 (1967) (plurality opinion); see also College Savings Bank v. Florida Prepaid Postsecondary Ed. Expense Bd., 527 U. S. 666, 680–682 (1999). Unless employees clearly and affirmatively consent before any money is taken from them, this standard cannot be met.


What Dunleavy and many other employers are starting to realize, is that the authorizations unions have strong-armed public employees into signing by threatening their firing if they don't (which prior to 2018 was legal), these consents really aren't valid anymore, because employees need to clearly, affirmatively and freely give consent to have money withheld from them to be sent to the union.

Since the agency fee era (pre-2018) allowed employees to be strong-armed into signing these authorizations, Dunleavy and others say they need to get another chance to decide if they want their money withheld. So Dunleavy is requiring new consents that give employees a free and clear choice, and the unions are ready to fight to the death over it, because they don't want union-represented employees to have another shot at making a clear and free choice.

Now that the law of the land has changed as it concerns withholding money from public employees, shouldn't public employees have to clearly opt in to having their money withheld and sent to unions? Shouldn't new consents have to be signed?
 
Feb 2011
17,070
6,098
Boise, ID
It's part of what unions negotiate with employers. They bargain for it.
Well I should have specified public sector in the title, because union security clauses used to be a permissive subject of bargaining in the public sector, but not anymore.

So IOW, shouldn't public sector employees have to clearly and freely opt in, and sign new authorizations acknowledging this free choice they didn't used to have?
 
Mar 2015
31,459
16,933
Mad Prophet
Well I should have specified public sector in the title, because union security clauses used to be a permissive subject of bargaining in the public sector, but not anymore.

So IOW, shouldn't public sector employees have to clearly and freely opt in, and sign new authorizations acknowledging this free choice they didn't used to have?
If there were any kind of opt-out for employees, that union would be over before it was started. Employers could offer perks to non-union members and thus discourage participation.
 
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Mar 2015
31,459
16,933
Mad Prophet
Well I should have specified public sector in the title, because union security clauses used to be a permissive subject of bargaining in the public sector, but not anymore.

So IOW, shouldn't public sector employees have to clearly and freely opt in, and sign new authorizations acknowledging this free choice they didn't used to have?
Sounds like a Trump deal.
 
Feb 2011
17,070
6,098
Boise, ID
If there were any kind of opt-out for employees, that union would be over before it was started. Employers could offer perks to non-union members and thus discourage participation.
Exclusive representation is still legal, so employees can't opt out of representation. The union represents them and negotiates over their working terms and conditions whether they like it or not.

The issue is they used to have to pay for this representation whether they wanted to or not, and unions used this money to influence politics in ways employees sometimes found disagreeable, which was ruled a violation of free speech. So the authorization forms these employees signed way back when represent a sort of duress to have their money withheld and sent to unions, and this duress is no longer legal. So employers are starting to demand that new consents be signed that express this free, non-coerced choice about their money. Unions don't want employees to have another chance to express consent. They want the once-upon-a-time consent signed under duress to continue on indefinitely, even though the Supreme Court quite clearly stated that is not allowed anymore.
 
Mar 2015
31,459
16,933
Mad Prophet
Exclusive representation is still legal, so employees can't opt out of representation. The union represents them and negotiates over their working terms and conditions whether they like it or not.

The issue is they used to have to pay for this representation whether they wanted to or not, and unions used this money to influence politics in ways employees sometimes found disagreeable, which was ruled a violation of free speech. So the authorization forms these employees signed way back when represent a sort of duress to have their money withheld and sent to unions, and this duress is no longer legal. So employers are starting to demand that new consents be signed that express this free, non-coerced choice about their money. Unions don't want employees to have another chance to express consent. They want the once-upon-a-time consent signed under duress to continue on indefinitely, even though the Supreme Court quite clearly stated that is not allowed anymore.
Good for Republicans. This is a law meant to dissolve unions. Next up - knock off OSHA.
 
Feb 2011
17,070
6,098
Boise, ID
Good for Republicans. This is a law meant to dissolve unions. Next up - knock off OSHA.
It wasn't a law that was passed, it was a Supreme Court decision. Regardless of what anyone alleges the court case was "meant to do," it's a done deal and has been a done deal for a year and a half.

The old authorizations basically said "withhold from me whatever I'm required to pay the union to keep my job." Now they don't have to pay the union to keep their job. So shouldn't they have to sign new consents that express their free choice (to pay the union or not)?

Unions are demanding these old consents, signed under the duress of old union security/agency fee rules, continue to be binding for withholding money from employees and sending it to the union. And some pro-union judges are helping unions maintain this, in clear defiance of the Supreme Court.

Personally I think employers should refuse to withhold or remit another red cent from their employees to send to unions until union employees sign new authorizations provided by the employer that clearly indicating what the employee wants to do. The old dues authorizations cards that were signed under threat of being fired were invalidated by Janus.
 
Mar 2015
31,459
16,933
Mad Prophet
It wasn't a law that was passed, it was a Supreme Court decision. Regardless of what anyone alleges the court case was "meant to do," it's a done deal and has been a done deal for a year and a half.

The old authorizations basically said "withhold from me whatever I'm required to pay the union to keep my job."

Now they don't have to pay the union to keep their job. So shouldn't they have to sign new consents that express their free choice (to pay the union or not)?

Unions are demanding these old consents, signed under the duress of old union security/agency fee rules, continue to be binding for withholding money from employees and sending it to the union.

Personally I think employers should refuse to withhold or remit another red cent from their employees to send to unions until union employees sign new authorizations clearly indicating what they want. The old dues authorizations cards that were signed under threat of being fired were invalidated by Janus.
Like i said, good job, Republicans.
 
Feb 2011
17,070
6,098
Boise, ID
Like i said, good job, Republicans.
Come on, you can't think from a legal perspective for even a minute? All you can do is pout?

Ironically, your immediate characterization of the issue as being partisan, i.e. a "Republican victory," was actually one of the biggest nails in the coffin of Janus v. AFSCME. The entire case boiled down to whether agency fees (extracted from non-members) were being used to influence politics. To win this case, unions would have had to demonstrate that agency fees were not forced political speech and totally separate from politics. Instead unions willfully admitted the opposite, admitting that the money they were extracting from non-members was inherently political by admitting that their (unions') political clout would be harmed if they lost this case (oral arguments, p. 54).

Ultimately, the conclusion of the case was that it cannot be presumed that employees (still) want to send money to unions, based on a consent they signed in the past under threat of losing their jobs. Yet unions and pro-union judges are ignoring the Supreme Court's ruling and saying "yep, continue presuming employees want their money withheld and sent to the union."