The Public Employee Rights and Authorization Act

Summary

The public purpose of this Act is to avoid having public employees misled into forfeiting free speech rights and suffering financial losses.

The Public Employee Rights and Authorization Act

Section 1. Introduction

A. The U.S. Supreme Court held in Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Council 31 that public sector employees are permitted to decline making financial payments to a labor organization and may not be terminated from their job for declining to make such payment. The First Amendment guarantees the freedom to associate or not to associate with a labor organization. Employees must provide clear, affirmative consent before any money or payment may be charged to them. Public employers shall be required to verify that their employees provide affirmative consent before making payments to a labor organization.

The public purpose of this Act is to ensure that all public employees have a free and fully informed choice about whether to financially support a union.

Section 2. Title

A. This Act shall be known as the Public Employee Rights and Authorization Act.

Section 3. Definitions

A. “Labor organization” means any agency, union, employee representation committee or organization of any kind that exists for the purpose, in whole or in part, of dealing with employers concerning wages, rates of pay, hours of work, other conditions of employment or other forms of compensation.

B. “Affirmative consent” means a knowing, voluntary, complete and intelligent explicit authorization by a public employee to financially support a labor organization. Affirmative consent shall be provided in written or electronic form and signed by the public employee.

Section 4. Requirement for Affirmative Consent

A. No labor organization may collect a payment from a public employee’s wages until the employee provides affirmative consent.

B. Affirmative consent shall be valid for one year and must be renewed annually.

C. A public agency may not deduct from the wages of an employee any payment meant to financially support a labor organization without annual affirmative consent from the employee.

D. Affirmative consent cannot be presumed. To be effective, the annual affirmative consent must be freely given and shown by clear and compelling evidence which shall, at minimum, include the public employee’s full name, position, labor organization, and signature or electronic signature and shall be submitted directly to the public agency employer by the public employee.

E. Before deducting union dues or fees a public agency shall confirm affirmative consent by emailing the public employees agency provided email address and wait for confirmation from the public employee. If the public employee does not possess an agency provided email address the agency may confirm an authorization in another manner it deems appropriate as long as the confirmation is in written or electronic format.

F. A public employee may revoke his or her affirmative consent at any time by providing written or electronic revocation to the public employer or the labor organization. The right to revoke affirmative consent cannot be waived. When a public employee revokes affirmative consent no further debt to the labor organization shall accrue.

Section 5. Union Membership

A. No public employee shall be required as a condition of obtaining or continuing public sector employment to:

1. Resign or refrain from membership in, voluntary affiliation with or voluntary financial support of a labor organization.

2. Become or remain a member of a labor organization.

3. Pay any dues, fees, assessments or other charges of any kind or amount, or provide anything else of value to a labor organization.

4. Pay to any charity or other third party an amount equivalent to, or a portion of, dues, fees, assessments, or other charges required of members of a labor organization.

B. An agreement, contract, understanding or practice between a labor organization and an employer that violates this section is unlawful and unenforceable.

Section 6. Text of Notice and Authorization

A. In order to ensure public employees are fully informed of their rights, a public agency shall provide a notice which shall include the following language:

“You have a First Amendment right, as recognized by the United States Supreme Court, to refrain from joining and paying dues to labor organization, or to join such an organization if you choose. Membership and payment of dues are voluntary and you may not be discriminated against for your decision to refuse to join or financially support a labor organization, or to join that organization.”

If an employer has agreed to deduct labor organization dues or fees from public employee paychecks, the form shall include the following language

“By signing below, you are authorizing your employer to deduct labor organization dues from your salary in the amounts specified in accordance with your labor organization’s bylaws. This authorization may be revoked at any time.”

B. This provision shall be written in bold and in all caps and shall be in a font that is equal to or larger than any other font found in the body of the form.

C. This Act does not supersede any prohibition on public employers deducting payments to labor organizations provided by statute.

Section 7. Penalties

A. Any person who suffers an injury or a threatened injury under this Act may bring a civil action for damages, injunctive relief or both. In addition, the court shall award a prevailing plaintiff costs and reasonable attorney fees.

Section 8. Effective Date
This Act is effective immediately, and will apply to all collective bargaining or other agreements, contracts, understandings or practices that are entered into or are extended, amended or renewed after this Act takes effect.

Section 9. Severability