Four states have recently advanced Republican-sponsored bills prohibiting union dues deductions for certain public-sector employees.
Here’s what those bills say and where they stand.
Arkansas lawmakers delivered Senate Bill 473 to Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders (R) on April 7 after the House passed the bill on April 6.
SB 473 states: “A school district board of directors or representatives of a school district board of directors shall not deduct dues, fees, or contributions from the pay of a teacher or classified employee on behalf of any professional or labor organization or political fund.”
Republicans have had trifecta control of Arkansas’ government since 2015.
The Florida State Senate passed a committee substitute for SB 256, allowing for a waiver of certain aspects of the bill for mass transit employee unions, on March 29. In the House, a committee substitute for HB 1445 with the same allowance for mass transit employee unions was added to the Second Reading Calendar on April 13.
The bills both state that, with certain exceptions for unions representing law enforcement officers, correctional officers, correctional probation officers, and firefighters, “an employee organization that has been certified as a bargaining agent may not have its dues and uniform assessments deducted and collected by the employer from the salaries of those employees in the unit. A public employee may pay dues and uniform assessments directly to the employee organization that has been certified as the bargaining agent.”
Republicans have had trifecta control in Florida since 2011.
After Gov. Andy Beshear (D) vetoed Senate Bill 7 on March 27, the legislature voted to override the veto on March 29.
SB 7 states: “A public employer shall not deduct from the wages, earnings, or compensation of any public employee for … [a]ny dues, fees, assessments, or other charges to be held for, transferred to, or paid over to a labor organization[.]”
In his veto message, Beshear wrote, “Senate Bill 7 is special legislation targeting public employees in violation of Section 59 of the Kentucky Constitution. … Senate Bill 7 is an attack on unions and teachers associations that support and protect hard working Kentucky families. … Senate Bill 7 also has First Amendment implications, stifling public employees’ freedom of speech.”
Kentucky has had a divided government since 2019, with a Democratic governor and Republican-controlled House and Senate.
The Tennessee Senate passed Senate Bill 281 on March 30. The House received the bill from the Senate on April 3.
SB 281 states, “Notwithstanding chapter 5, part 6 of this title, [a local education agency (LEA)] shall not deduct dues from the wages of the LEA’s employees for a professional employees’ organization, including, but not limited to, a professional employees’ organization that is affiliated with a labor organization exempt under 26 U.S.C. § 501(c)(5). This section does not prohibit an employee of an LEA from personally and voluntarily remitting dues to a professional employees’ organization.”
Republicans have had trifecta control of Tennessee’s government since 2011.
Similar bills introduced this year in Oklahoma and Oregon have not advanced. In 2022, Florida Republicans introduced a set of bills similar to the ones being considered in 2023, one of which passed the House and one that did not advance out of committee in the Senate.
In 2021, West Virginia passed a law prohibiting public-sector employers from deducting union dues from the paychecks of state, county, and certain municipal employees. After a group of unions filed a lawsuit, a state circuit judge temporarily blocked the law from going into effect. The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals overturned the judge’s ruling.