A Current Glimpse of Public Sector Union Policy in the States
The Janus Supreme Court decision gave government workers the ability to choose whether or not they want to join or support a government union. While the Janus decision protects worker’s freedom of speech and freedom of association, the responses by some states have muddied the waters making it more difficult for workers to know and exercise their rights.
Below is a breakdown of some of the government union policy in state houses across the country:
Captive Audience Meetings: All new employees must have mandated meetings with union officials.
Exclusive Representation: Unions have sole authority to represent all employees in bargaining.
Window Periods: Limits when workers can exercise their Janus Rights to opt out of union dues and membership to defined time periods such as 10 days following the anniversary of the worker’s start date.
Janus Information: Allow public employers to notify workers of their Janus Rights.
Encourage/Discourage: Public employers can encourage and/or discourage employees from joining or leaving a union.
Union Release Time: Members of the union are paid by the government to perform private union business (sometimes up to 100% of the time) instead of a truly public work.
Ballotpedia is currently tracking 85 bills related to public sector unions. Many of these bills cover some of the above categories. Going through a breakdown of topics, roughly 17 bills are related to right-to-work within the state bills, 5 touch on captive audience meetings, 6 relate to window periods and notification of Janus Rights, 9 focus on representation and 3 relate to providing employee information to unions or encouraging/discouraging employees to join a union.
The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has model policy covering many of these topics. Later this year we will be releasing a publication that will examine model policies as ALEC solutions across the states. These models include:
- Union Financial Responsibility Act: union financial transparency
- Prohibition on Paid Union Activity (release time) by Public Employees Act: prohibits union release time
- The Public Employee Rights and Authorization Act: affirms workers Janus Rights
- Union Recertification: ensures that no collective bargaining representative or exclusive representative shall represent public employees in a unit without the concurrence of a majority of all the public employees in the unit
- Public Employee Choice Act: establishes a workers’ right to opt-out of union representation and represent themselves, as well as allowing unions to forego representation of non-dues or fee payers
- Comprehensive Public Employee Freedom Act: combines portions of our Right to Work Act and Public Employee Choice Act