Big Labor-Controlled States Look for Ways to Bypass Constitution and Janus Decision

Big Labor Politicians Flaunt Supreme Court

Washington Governor Poised to Sign Unconstitutional Legislation

It’s now been roughly a year since the U.S. Supreme Court decided that government employers across the country may not deduct union dues or fees from employees’ paychecks unless the employees “clearly and affirmatively consent before any money is taken from them.”

Unfortunately, the union-label politicians who hold the reins of power in Olympia, Wash., don’t appear yet to have gotten the message sent by Janus v. AFSCME Council 31, a case argued and won by National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation attorney Bill Messenger on behalf of Illinois civil servant Mark Janus.

In April, Washington State legislators rubber-stamped H.B.1575, legislation that effectively requires government employers to siphon money out of employees’ paychecks and funnel it to Big Labor without their consent.

Bill Aims to Shield Union Dons From Being Made to Return Ill-Gotten Gains

In other words, H.B.1575, which as this Newsletter is written is on pro-forced unionism Democrat Gov. Jay Inslee’s desk and is almost certain to be signed by him, requires public employers in Washington State to violate civil servants’ First Amendment rights.

Under H.B.1575, public employers would be legally prohibited from ceasing to deduct union dues from employee paychecks because an employee personally informs them that he or she no longer belongs to the union and does not wish to bankroll it.

Public employers would only be permitted to stop siphoning a portion of an independent-minded employee’s pay into union coffers when the union says it may do so.

And government union bosses would be authorized, in effect, to ignore employee resignation notices 97% or more of the time, prohibiting employees from cutting off financial support for the union except for during a short annual “window period” of as little as 10 days, or perhaps even fewer!

Other outrageous provisions of H.B.1575 purport to grant union bosses legal “immunity” for having illegally seized dues and fees from employees prior to the Janus decision. The clear goal here is to shield Big Labor from having to return any of its ill-gotten gains.

Union bosses cannot credibly pretend they were acting in ignorance when they unconstitutionally extracted money from civil servants pre-Janus.

In October 2017, months before the case was even heard, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees President Lee Saunders admitted, at a union convention in Washington State, that the High Court was likely to rule against forced-dues apologists in Janus.

Injured Employees Would Be Blocked From Seeking Redress in State Court

Though post-Janus exactions of forced union dues and fees from public employees would be formally illegal under H.B.1575, the bill would explicitly strip employees whose right not to bankroll a union are violated of any standing to seek redress in state court or before the Public Employment Relations Commission.

Employees who wished to get their conscripted money back would have no choice but to initiate typically expensive and time-consuming lawsuits in federal court.

National Right to Work Committee Vice President John Kalb noted that the Committee had, prior to the legislative votes on H.B.1575, written every state representative and senator in Olympia, Wash., to urge opposition to the power grab.

The letter bluntly warned:

“This bill is an assault, not just on the individual government employees of Washington, but on the taxpayers of your state as well.”

“Unfortunately,” said Mr. Kalb, “the union political machine’s vise grip over public officeholders in the Evergreen State is so tight that virtually every Big Labor demand for new special privileges is granted in the state capital. H.B.1575 was no exception.

“Fortunately,  in those times and places where the legislative climate is too hostile for Committee members and supporters to be able to prevent a union special-interest bill from becoming law, Right to Work can still sometimes prevail in court.

“In anticipation of Gov. Inslee’s signing of H.B.1575, Right to Work Foundation attorneys are already preparing for litigation to overturn the bill’s worst provisions in court.

“Given the availability of plaintiffs who are prepared to fight for their First Amendment rights, I am optimistic such litigation will be successful.”

(source: June 2019 National Right To Work Newsletter)