The U.S. Supreme Court is on the verge of a likely blow to public sector unions who collect fees from nonunion employees in Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.
In California, the impact could be considerable, as public unions hold extensive sway over the Democrats who hold a firm grip on power in Sacramento due to high-dollar political activity funded by union dues. Since California allows unions to collect fees from nonunion employees for their services, these unions have long had a free hand to use dues paid by members for political activity.
If the court rules in favor of Janus, unions could see membership drop considerably. Freeing nonunion employees from paying representation fees and declining membership could force Sacramento powerbroker unions like AFSCME, Service Employer International Union (SEIU), and the California Teachers Association to redirect their spending of dues money toward regular responsibilities of labor negotiation and dispute resolution rather than toward campaign contributions.
However, as CALMatters reports, the unions are prepping new laws in California to help ease the impact of a Janus-sized blow from the Supreme Court:
The legislation is in early conceptual stages, and it’s too soon to say whether, if approved, it would cover all unions or just those in the public sector. But union-backed bills under consideration, [California School Employees Association executive director] Dave Low said, include:
•Giving union members “release time” from their jobs so they can recruit other workers to join the union.
•Shielding union members’ contact information from the public to make it harder for anti-union groups to reach them.
•Allowing unions to charge nonmembers who use services such as arbitration or a labor representative to help them through a disciplinary process.
Giving public employees time off to recruit fellow coworkers into the union is likely to rankle taxpayer advocate groups, as taxpayer-funded time off is being used to assist union recruiting efforts rather than serve the public.