by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Oregon workers are asking a federal court to do away with policies that limit their ability to cut financial ties with labor unions.
In June, the Supreme Court ruled in Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees that government agencies could no longer force their employees to pay union dues or fees as a condition of employment. Workers in Oregon, however, say that union contracts and policies have limited their ability to exercise those rights. The suit says that Service Employees International Union Local 503 and AFSCME Council 75 have created artificial barriers for workers by giving them limited time windows at which to submit their resignations.
“Defendants’ actions and dues deduction revocation restrictions violate the employees’ exercise of their First Amendment right not to pay moneys to a union without their affirmative consent and knowing waiver of First Amendment rights,” the suit says. …
… The suit says the union purposefully designed contracts with government agencies to delay the ability of workers to resign their membership. While the Supreme Court’s decision declared that mandatory union payments violated the First Amendment rights of workers, dissenting workers who attempt to exercise those rights may have to wait until 2019 before getting the opportunity. When one Wallowa County worker issued her resignation, Local 503 struck her name from the membership rolls, but insisted it would continue to deduct fees from her paychecks until May 2019.