Oregonian Taxpayers Expected To Send Hundreds of Millions To Government Union Bosses

Force Oregon Taxpayers to Bankroll Unions?

Beaver State Right to Work supporters face an uphill battle trying to keep a bill imposing direct taxpayer funding of government unions from reaching the desk of Big Labor Gov. Kate Brown (pictured). Credit: Oregon AFL-CIO

Big Labor State Politicians Plan to Circumvent Janus Decision

Thanks to a landmark U.S. Supreme Court victory won last summer by Illinois civil servant Mark Janus, with the assistance of a legal team led by Right to Work staff attorney Bill Messenger, government union bosses now face a future with far less money siphoned from employee paychecks at their disposal.

Nationwide, Big Labor officials in the government sector could ultimately lose hundreds of millions, or even billions, of dollars in coerced dues and fees.

In Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31, the High Court recognized, for the first time, the unconstitutionality of deals between union chiefs and public employers forcing civil servants to pay for the advocacy of a union they would never voluntarily join, or be fired.

‘Workaround’ Would Let Union Dons Continue Cashing in Even if They Lose Members

Union-label legislators and governors who have largely depended on Big Labor’s forced dues-funded largesse to get elected and reelected are obviously afraid of what will happen once their patrons have to depend on genuinely voluntary support from members for their future funding.

To ensure that frightening scenario never materializes, months before the Janus decision was announced, politicians in many of the roughly two dozen states where forced government-sector union dues were still permissible pre-Janus began introducing and adopting countermeasures.

For more than a year, politicians in Big Labor strongholds like New York, California and Hawaii have been seeking to deter educators, public-safety officers, and other civil servants from ever exercising their right to resign from, or never join, an unwanted union.

(Staff attorneys for the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, the National Right to Work Committee’s sister organization, are now helping independent-minded civil servants in a number of states mount judicial challenges to state statutory and regulatory schemes to circumvent Janus.)

Up to now, no union-label legislators in any state have actually resorted to the “nuclear option” of redirecting taxpayer money that would otherwise go to public workers’ paychecks to cover Big Labor’s operating expenses.

But that could change very soon. In forced-unionism Oregon’s 2019 legislative session in Salem, Organized Labor lobbyists are pulling out all the stops to ram through H.B.2643, a cynical bill that would enable government union bosses to maintain or even increase their revenue flow no matter how many members they lose!

Union Bosses Would Receive Money From Public Employers Across the State

Although H.B.2643 is officially sponsored by Rep. Paul Holvey (D-Eugene), it was actually drafted by Oregon School Employees Association (OSEA/AFT) union lawyer Mike Tedesco, according to Oregon capital reporter Aubrey Wieber.

Committee Vice President Matthew Leen explained how H.B.2643 will undercut Janus if it is adopted:

“Holvey/Tedesco would impose a yet-to-be determined assessment on all public employers for every employee under their authority who is subject to union monopoly bargaining.

“Public employers would fork over these assessments to the Oregon Employment Relations Board, which would then funnel all the money to government union coffers.

“Union bigwigs would not be required to perform any service whatsoever for taxpayers in exchange for the taxpayer money, which could easily add up to $100 million or more a year.”

Just How Panicked Are Big Labor Bosses About Janus?

Mr. Leen recalled that, just last year, when pro-forced unionism New York Assemblyman Richard Gottfried (D-Manhattan) floated an anti-Janus proposal similar to H.B.2643, even some government union officials said they didn’t want that kind of “help”:

“If Oregon union lobbyists proceed now with their announced plan to send H.B.2643 to Big Labor puppet Gov. Kate Brown’s desk, it will show the union hierarchy’s desperation about workers’ exercising their Janus rights has greatly intensified since the middle of last year.

“If union bosses really do dare to open up a straight path for taxpayer money to go into Big Labor’s bank accounts, National Right to Work Committee members and their allies will face an uphill battle to stop them in forced-unionism Oregon.

“But I am confident National Committee staff and Right to Work activists across the country will do all they feasibly can to help.”

(source: March 2019 National Right To Work Newsletter)