Author

Jerrick Adams

Jerrick Adams is a staff writer at Ballotpedia and can be reached at jerrick.adams@ballotpedia.org

Minnesota Supreme Court rules city of Brainerd engaged in unfair labor practices

In a 5-2 decision issued Oct. 9, the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled the city of Brainerd engaged in unfair labor practices when it restructured the fire department. The city eliminated the positions of five full-time fire equipment operato

rs who were members of Firefighters Union Local 4725. The move effectively dissolved the union.

Who are the parties to the suit?
The plaintiff, Firefighters Union Local 4725, et al., was represented by Meyer Njus Tanick, PA. The defendant, the city of Brainerd, was represented by Everett & VanderWiel, P.L.L.P.

What was at issue?
Firefighters Union Local 4725 sued the city of Brainerd after it eliminated five union positions. The Crow Wing County District Court ruled in favor of the city. However, the Minnesota Court of Appeals reversed the ruling, finding that Minn. Stat. § 179A.13 prohibited the city from interfering with the existence of employee organizations and therefore that the city had engaged in unfair labor practice.

The city appealed the case to the state supreme court, arguing that the restructuring was authorized under Minn. Stat. § 179A.07 as “inherent managerial policy.”

  • In Minnesota, there is a state supreme court, a state court of appeals, and a district court system.

How did the court rule?
In the majority opinion, Justice David Lillehaug wrote, “Although our reasoning differs in part from that of the court of appeals, we hold that the City engaged in an unfair labor practice prohibited by Minn. Stat. § 179A.13, subd. 2(2). Therefore, we affirm the court of appeals’ decision that the district court erred by failing to grant summary judgment to the Local on the PELRA claim.”

Chief Justice Lorie Gildea and Justice Barry Anderson dissented. Gildea wrote in her dissent that “the majority prioritizes the protections in section 179A.13 and nullifies the powers in section 179A.07. Because the majority departs from our obligation to give effect to both statutes, I respectfully dissent.”

  • In Minnesota, supreme court justices are elected to six-year terms in nonpartisan elections. In the event of a vacancy, the governor appoints a replacement who must then stand for election at the next general election at least one year after the appointment. Currently, five justices on the court were appointed by a Democratic governor and two justices were appointed by a Republican governor. This case was decided along party lines.

What are the responses?

  • Attorney Marshall Tanick, who represented the union, said the case “upholds the sanctity of contracts in the workplace for labor unions and all working people for that matter.”
  • Attorney Pamela VanderWiel, who represented the city, said, “I think with every subsequent decision we’ve gotten, the law has gotten more confusing, rather than easier to apply.”

What comes next?
According to the Brainerd Dispatch, “With the reversal by the Minnesota Supreme Court, the case will go back to the Brainerd district courtroom for a decision on a remedy.”

The big picture

Number of relevant bills by state

We are currently tracking 102 pieces of legislation dealing with public-sector employee union policy. On the map below, a darker shade of green indicates a greater number of relevant bills. Click here for a complete list of all the bills we’re tracking.

Union Station map October 18, 2019.png

Number of relevant bills by current legislative status

Union Station status chart October 18, 2019.png

Number of relevant bills by partisan status of sponsor(s)

Union Station partisan chart October 18, 2019.png.png

Recent legislative actions

Below is a complete list of legislative actions taken since our last issue. Bills are listed in alphabetical order, first by state then by bill number.

  • California AB314: This bill would require employers to grant employees paid time off for certain union activities.
    • Vetoed by Gov. Gavin Newsom on Oct. 12, 2019.


Three Pennsylvania public-sector unions amend contracts, allow members to opt out at any time

Three public-sector unions in Pennsylvania have recently ratified labor contracts allowing their members to resign at any time. Previously, these unions allowed members to resign during an annual 15-day window preceding the expiration of their labor contracts. This provision is referred to as a maintenance-of-membership clause.

Who are the unions, and who do they represent?
The three unions are the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 668, the Pennsylvania State Correctional Officers Association, and the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 1776. Together, these three unions represent approximately 22,500 public-sector workers.

What are the reactions?

  • David Osborne, president and general counsel for the Fairness Center, said, “Maintenance of membership restrictions clearly violate our clients’ constitutional rights, and union officials should have dropped those restrictions a long time ago. It’s a big step in the right direction. Our clients had to sue to enforce their rights and the rights of those who are similarly situated, and only then did their union officials start to doubt their constitutional authority to keep members from resigning.” The Pennsylvania-based Fairness Center is a nonprofit law firm that, according to its website, “provides free legal services to those hurt by public-sector union officials.”
    • The Fairness Center has filed multiple lawsuits challenging maintenance-of membership clauses since the Supreme Court issued its 2018 ruling in Janus v. AFSCME. The court found that compelling public-sector workers to give any financial support to a union violates workers’ First Amendment rights.
  • Wendell Young IV, president of UFCW Local 1776, said, “There’s a very basic element of every contract our union has in both the public and private sector and that is if any provision is found to be inconsistent due to a change in the law or invalidated by changes in the law, they are considered invalidated. So Janus changed the law. The Supreme Court ruled and whether I like the ruling or not contracts have to conform to the law. That’s why we changed them.” This appears to be one of the first instances in which a union representative has indicated that membership opt-out windows are inconsistent with Janus.

What comes next?
According to Osborne, the suits filed by the Fairness Center will proceed because state law does not prohibit the inclusion of maintenance-of-membership clauses in labor contracts. “Our clients are pursuing a court ruling that, among other protections, strikes down the ‘maintenance of membership’ statute as unconstitutional,” he said. Unions are contesting these suits, which are listed below.

  • Nguyen v. A&R Local 4200 (case number: 3:19-cv-01351-WWE; filed Sept. 2, 2019, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut)
  • Weyandt v. PSCOA (case number: 3:02-at-06000; filed June 14, 2019, in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania)
  • Kabler v. UFCW, Local 1776 (case number: 1:19-cv-00395-UN1; filed March 6, 2019, in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania)
  • James v. SEIU, Local 668 (case number: 2:19-cv-00053-CB; filed Jan. 17, 2019, in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania)
  • Molina v. SEIU, Local 668 (case number: 1:19-cv-00019-YK; filed Jan. 7, 2019, in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania)

The big picture

Number of relevant bills by state

We are currently tracking 102 pieces of legislation dealing with public-sector employee union policy. On the map below, a darker shade of green indicates a greater number of relevant bills. Click here for a complete list of all the bills we’re tracking.

Union Station map October 11, 2019.png

Number of relevant bills by current legislative status

Union Station status chart October 11, 2019.png

Number of relevant bills by partisan status of sponsor(s)

Union Station partisan chart October 11, 2019.png

Recent legislative actions

No legislative actions have occurred since our last issue.



Analysis: The 2020 elections and their impact on redistricting

In 2020, voters across the country will elect new state legislators and governors, and in many cases, these officials will play a direct part in drawing the district maps that govern elections for the next 10 years.
 
The process by which district maps are drawn is called redistricting. Every 10 years, the U.S. Census Bureau delivers detailed population datasets to the states. Redistricting authorities in the states use these datasets to redraw their congressional, state legislative, and even local district maps.
 
In 34 of the states conducting legislative elections in 2020, the legislatures themselves will play a significant part in the 2020 redistricting cycle. In eight of next year’s gubernatorial elections, the winner will have veto authority over state legislative or congressional district plans approved by legislatures.
 
The 2010 election and redistricting cycle can illustrate how elections impact the redistricting process.
 
In the 2010 elections, trifecta control (when one party controls the governorship and both chambers of a state’s legislature) changed in 12 states where legislatures were responsible for redistricting.
 
Before the elections, seven of these 12 states were Democratic trifectas; the rest were divided governments.
 
  • Six states changed from Democratic trifectas to divided governments: Colorado, Iowa, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oregon, Wisconsin.
  • Five states changed from divided governments to a Republican trifectas: Alabama, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania.
  • One state, Maine, changed from a Democratic to a Republican trifecta.
 
Of the six trifectas gained by Republicans in those elections, three remain as such: Alabama, Indiana, and Ohio. Democrats have regained three of the trifectas they lost: Colorado, Oregon, and Maine. The rest are divided governments.


Where will RCV be in November 2019?

Ranked-choice voting round-up: the state of play heading into November

On Nov. 5, voters in New York City will decide on a city charter amendment that would, if adopted, establish ranked-choice voting (RCV) for municipal primary and special elections beginning in 2021. If approved, the amendment will make New York the largest city in the nation to use RCV for local elections.

What municipalities have enacted, or are set to enact, RCV in 2019? The following cities either have used or will use RCV for the first time as part of their 2019 election cycles: Eastpointe, Michigan; Las Cruces, New Mexico; Payton, Utah; St. Louis Park, Minnesota; and Vineyard, Utah.

How many jurisdictions have adopted RCV? On the map below, states shaded in blue and gold contain jurisdictions that have adopted RCV as part of their election processes. States shaded in yellow either have implemented or will implement RCV this year. States shaded in blue have adopted, but not yet implemented, RCV. To date, 21 jurisdictions (20 municipalities and one state, Maine) have adopted RCV and have either begun using it or are scheduled to begin using it in a coming election cycle. Another seven jurisdictions (six municipalities one state, Utah) have adopted legislation providing for the prospective use of RCV, although none mandate its use.

Ranked-choice voting map

What other noteworthy developments involving RCV have occurred this year? Maine is expected to use RCV in the 2020 presidential election, making it the first jurisdiction to do so. On Sept. 6, Maine Governor Janet Mills (D) announced she would take no immediate action on legislation providing for the use of RCV in presidential elections. Instead, Mills signaled she would allow LD1083 to become law without her signature in January. As a result, the law will not take effect in time for the March 3 primaries, but it will be in effect for the 2020 general election.

According to FairVote, a group that advocates for the expanded use of RCV, the following presidential preference primaries and nominating caucuses will incorporate RCV in 2020:

  • Nevada: Early voters in Democratic caucuses in February 2020
  • Hawaii: All voters in Democratic primary in April 2020
  • Alaska: All voters in Democratic primary in April 2020
  • Kansas: All voters in Democratic primary in May 2020
  • Wyoming: All voters in Democratic primary in April 2020 

Redistricting in North Carolina: litigation update

On Sept. 27, a group of 14 registered Democratic voters in North Carolina filed a suit in state superior court alleging that the state’s congressional district plan is an illegal partisan gerrymander under the state constitution.

This lawsuit comes after a three-judge panel of the state superior court struck down North Carolina’s state legislative district plan for impermissible partisan gerrymandering. In that ruling, handed down on Sept. 3, the court held that the maps “do not permit voters to freely choose their representative, but rather representatives are choosing voters based upon sophisticated partisan sorting. It is not the free will of the people that is fairly ascertained through extreme partisan gerrymandering. Rather, it is the carefully crafted will of the map drawer that predominates.” The court ordered lawmakers to draft remedial maps.

On Sept. 17, one day before the court-mandated deadline, the state legislature adopted remedial House and Senate maps and submitted them to the court. The remedial House map can be accessed here. The remedial Senate map can be accessed here. In a court filing dated Sept. 27, the plaintiffs in the original suit objected to 19 remedial state House districts. They did not object to any of the remedial state Senate maps. On Oct. 4, attorneys for Republican lawmakers submitted a brief in response to these claims. The court has yet to rule on the viability of the remedial maps.

Legislation update: Redistricting, electoral systems, and primary systems bills

The maps below show which states are considering redistricting, electoral systems, and primary systems legislation. A darker shade of red indicates a greater number of relevant bills.

Redistricting legislation as of Oct. 9, 2019
Redistricting legislation as of Oct. 9, 2019
Electoral systems legislation as of Oct. 9, 2019
Electoral systems legislation as of Oct. 9, 2019
Primary systems legislation as of Oct. 9, 2019
Primary systems legislation as of Oct. 9, 2019



Federal court considers case over refund of previously paid agency fees

Note: This story concerns a lawsuit following up on the Supreme Court’s 2018 ruling in Janus v. AFSCME. The case that is the subject of this story has the same name but is distinct.

On September 20, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit heard oral arguments in Janus v. AFSCME, a case involving the refund of agency fees paid to unions before the Supreme Court of the United States disallowed the compulsory collection of such fees in a 2018 ruling.

Who are the parties to the suit, and what is at issue? The plaintiff is Mark Janus, who was also the plaintiff in Janus v. AFSCME, the similarly named 2018 case in which the Supreme Court of the United States held that compelling workers to pay fees to a union is an unconstitutional infringement of their free-speech and associational rights. The defendant is the American Federation of State, Court, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). In the present suit, Janus is seeking a refund of the fees he had been required to pay to AFSCME prior to the high court’s 2018 ruling. He points to Harris v. Quinn, a 2014 decision by the high court that struck down an Illinois statute compelling a specific class of home healthcare workers to pay fees to the Service Employees International Union. Janus claims that the high court’s ruling in Harris suggested the ultimate unconstitutionality of agency fees. He also argues that unions were not acting in good faith when they continued to collect agency fees and, therefore, should be held liable for refunds.

How did the lower court rule in this case? On March 18, Judge Robert Gettleman, of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, ruled that public-sector unions cannot be required to refund agency fees paid to them before the Supreme Court issued its decision in Janus. Gettleman, who was appointed to the court by President Bill Clinton, rejected the arguments put forth by Janus: “Defendants’ action [sic] were in accord with a constitutionally valid state statute. Nothing presented by plaintiff prevents application of that defense to defendant AFSCME. Defendant AFSCME followed the law and could not reasonably anticipate that the law would change.” Gettleman’s decision prompted the appeal that is presently being considered by the appellate panel.

What comes next? A decision is pending by the appellate panel, which comprises Judges Diane Wood, Daniel Manion, and Ilana Rovner. Wood, Marion, and Rovner were appointed by Presidents Clinton, Ronald Reagan, and George H. W. Bush, respectively.

In other news

Earlier this week, we reported on Alaska’s newly announced opt-in membership policy for public-sector unions representing state employees. We now want to bring you up to speed on how public-sector unions in the state are reacting to the news.

Jake Metcalfe, president of the Alaska State Employees Association, which represents 4,930 members, told KTUU that the union would seek a temporary restraining order to bar enforcement of the September 26 order. On October 4, Anchorage Superior Court Judge Gregory Miller issued that order. Miller was appointed by Governor Sean Parnell, a Republican.

In response to this development, Metcalfe said, “Our position is the right position. The governor was trying to take rights away from his own employees and that’s never a good thing.”

Assistant Attorney General Cori Mills said, “We are disappointed with the ruling, though we will, of course, abide by the court’s order. The Attorney General continues to stand behind his opinion, and the state will continue to pursue the case to get final resolution on this important constitutional question.”

The big picture

Number of relevant bills by state

We are currently tracking 102 pieces of legislation dealing with public-sector employee union policy. On the map below, a darker shade of green indicates a greater number of relevant bills. Click here for a complete list of all the bills we’re tracking.

Union Station map October 4, 2019.png

Number of relevant bills by current legislative status

Union Station status chart October 4, 2019.png

Number of relevant bills by partisan status of sponsor(s)

Union Station partisan chart October 4, 2019.png

Recent legislative actions

No legislative actions have occurred since our last issue.



Public-sector unions contributed $159.8 million to federal, state, and local candidates in 2018

In 2018, public-sector unions contributed $159.8 million to candidates for federal, state, or local office, according to resources available through campaign finance reporting requirements at both the federal and state levels.
 
The five states in which political candidates received the most money in contributions from public-sector unions were:
  • California, where unions contributed $74.1 million, 46.4 percent of the nationwide total.
  • Illinois, where unions contributed $14.2 million, 8.9 percent of the nationwide total.
  • Oregon, where unions contributed $10.6 million, 6.6 percent of the nationwide total.
  • Minnesota, where unions contributed $10.4 million, 6.5 percent of the nationwide total.
  • New York, where unions contributed $9.8, 6.1 percent of the nationwide total.
 
Combined contributions in these five states totaled $119.0 million, about 75 percent of the nationwide total. Meanwhile, contributions in the remaining 45 states totaled $40.7 million—about 25 percent of the nationwide total.
 
These totals are based on resources gathered by the National Institute on Money in Politics, and reflect contributions by public-sector unions to political candidates. These figures do not account for unions’ satellite spending activities.
 


IRS proposes donor disclosure exemptions for select nonprofit groups

On September 10, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Department of the Treasury published a proposed regulation that would exempt some nonprofit groups from existing donor disclosure requirements. In July, a federal judge struck down a similar rule issued in 2018, finding that federal agencies had failed to follow proper procedures in enacting the rule change.

What would change under the proposed regulation?
Should the proposed regulation be enacted, existing donor disclosure requirements would apply only to groups organized under Sections 501(c)(3) and 527 of the Internal Revenue Code. Other 501(c) nonprofits, such as labor unions, trade associations, and social welfare groups, would not be required to disclose the names of their donors to the federal government. Under both existing regulations and the proposed rule change, donor names disclosed to federal agencies are not publicly released.

What brought us here?
On July 16, 2018, the IRS issued Revenue Procedure 2018-38, a rule change substantively similar to that issued earlier this month. On July 30, Judge Brian Morris, appointed to the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana by President Barack Obama (D), struck down the procedure, finding that the IRS had failed to comply with the public notice-and-comment process required under the Administrative Procedure Act. Morris did not comment on the merits of the rule change.

What are the reactions?

  • Ralph Graybill, chief legal counsel for the Montana governor’s office, which was a plaintiff in the original challenge to the 2018 rule, said, “The State of Montana looks forward to giving the IRS a better picture of the devastating impacts its rules could have on state tax agencies as well as efforts to prevent foreign influence in our elections. We appreciate that the agency reversed from its prior course that excluded public comment.”
  • In announcing the original rule change in 2018, Steve Mnuchin, Secretary of the Treasury, said, “Americans shouldn’t be required to send the IRS information that it doesn’t need to effectively enforce our tax laws, and the IRS simply does not need tax returns with donor names and addresses to do its job in this area.”

What comes next?
Written and electronic comments must be received by December 9. Any request for a public hearing must also be made by that time.

What we’re reading

The big picture

Number of relevant bills by state: We’re currently tracking 72 pieces of legislation dealing with donor disclosure. On the map below, a darker shade of green indicates a greater number of relevant bills. Click here for a complete list of all the bills we’re tracking.

Disclosure Digest map September 30, 2019.png

Number of relevant bills by current legislative status

Disclosure Digest status chart September 30, 2019.png

Number of relevant bills by partisan status of sponsor(s)

Disclosure Digest partisan chart September 30, 2019.png

Recent legislative actions

Below is a complete list of legislative actions taken on relevant bills in the past week. Bills are listed in alphabetical order, first by state then by bill number. Know of any legislation we’re missing? Please email us so we can include it on our tracking list.

  • California AB864: This bill would expand disclosure requirements for certain kinds of political advertisements made by independent expenditure groups and other entities.
    • Senate amended and approved September 11; Assembly approved September 12. Submitted to governor September 24.
  • New Hampshire SB156: This bill would require that political contributions made by limited liability companies be allocated to individual members in order to determine whether individuals have exceeded contribution limits.
    • Veto sustained September 19.


Ballotpedia releases research on public-sector union political spending

Our research project analyzing public-sector union membership, finances, and political spending is now complete. In last week’s edition, we shared our key findings on union finances. This week, let’s turn our attention to political spending.

Methodology
Campaign finance reporting requirements at both the federal and state levels enable us to report comprehensively on political spending by public-sector unions. Using resources compiled by the National Institute on Money in Politics, we collected data on all contributions made by public-sector unions to political candidates in 2018.

Summary of findings
Public-sector unions contributed $159.8 million to candidates for federal, state, or local office in 2018. Note that this figure does not account for unions’ satellite spending activities. The five states in which political candidates received the most money in contributions from public-sector unions are:

  • California, where unions contributed $74.1 million, 46.4 percent of the nationwide total.
  • Illinois, where unions contributed $14.2 million, 8.9 percent of the nationwide total.
  • Oregon, where unions contributed $10.6 million, 6.6 percent of the nationwide total.
  • Minnesota, where unions contributed $10.4 million, 6.5 percent of the nationwide total.
  • New York, where unions contributed $9.8, 6.1 percent of the nationwide total.

Combined contributions in these five states totaled $119.0 million, about 75 percent of the nationwide total. Meanwhile, contributions in the remaining 45 states totaled $40.7 million—about 25 percent of the nationwide total.

For a complete breakdown of public-sector union political spending data, including links to state-specific data sets, see this article.

The big picture

Number of relevant bills by state

We are currently tracking 102 pieces of legislation dealing with public-sector employee union policy. On the map below, a darker shade of green indicates a greater number of relevant bills. Click here for a complete list of all the bills we’re tracking.

Union Station map September 27, 2019.png

Number of relevant bills by current legislative status

Union Station status chart September 27, 2019.png

Number of relevant bills by partisan status of sponsor(s)

Union Station partisan chart September 27, 2019.png

Recent legislative actions

Below is a complete list of legislative actions taken since our last issue. Bills are listed in alphabetical order, first by state then by bill number.

  • California AB314: This bill would require employers to grant employees paid time for certain union activities.
    • Presented to the governor Sept. 24.
  • New Hampshire HB363: This bill would establish the state legislature as a public employer under the state’s public-employer labor relations laws.
    • Legislative Administration Committee work session held Sept. 26.


Federal judge temporarily blocks enforcement of California law requiring presidential candidates to disclose tax returns

On September 19, 2019, U.S. District Court Judge Morrison C. England, Jr., issued a temporary injunction barring enforcement of SB 27, a California law requiring presidential and gubernatorial candidates to disclose their last five federal income tax returns in order to qualify for placement on the primary ballot. England, appointed to the bench by President George W. Bush (R), announced that he would issue a final ruling on the matter by the end of September.
 
Governor Gavin Newsom (D) signed SB 27 into law on July 30, 2019. In a statement, Newsom said, “The disclosure required by this bill will shed light on conflicts of interest, self-dealing, or influence from domestic and foreign business interest. The United States Constitution grants states the authority to determine how their electors are chosen, and California is well within its constitutional right to include this requirement.”
 
Several lawsuits were filed in response. On July 30, 2019, Republican presidential candidate Roque De La Fuente filed suit against Secretary of State Alex Padilla (D) in federal district court, alleging that SB 27 violated Article II, Section 1, Clause 5 and the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. On August 1, 2019, Judicial Watch, on behalf of four California voters, filed a separate federal suit challenging the law. On August 6, 2019, President Donald Trump (R) and his campaign committee filed another separate suit challenging the law, as did the Republican National Committee and the California Republican Party.
 
Legal professionals differed in their initial assessment of the legality of SB 27. Adam Winkler, a constitutional law professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, said, “This new law raises some very interesting and novel constitutional issues. Because it is novel, it is hard to know how the courts would go, but there is plenty of reason to think courts will be hostile to California’s requirements.” Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, said, “Although most cases dealing with ballot access have involved state and local elections, the constitutional principles are the same: State governments may set conditions for being listed on the ballot so long as they serve important interests and do not discriminate based on wealth or ideology.” Gene Schaerr, a constitutional lawyer who has argued before the Supreme Court of the United States, said, “I see it as a serious problem on both constitutional grounds and especially on policy. You can imagine a host of other disclosures that states might want to adopt. If California could do this, some people would undoubtedly want to know whether candidates have ever been treated for a mental illness or denied insurance.”


Ballotpedia’s research into public-sector union finances

Our research project analyzing public-sector union membership, finances, and political spending is now complete. In last week’s edition, we shared our key findings on membership figures. This week, let’s turn our attention to finances.

Methodology
Under federal law, unions representing public-sector employees exclusively are not required to file financial reports with the U.S. Department of Labor. Furthermore, unions’ organizational hierarchies make it exceedingly difficult to collect exhaustive data. Because these challenges make it all but impossible to collect comprehensive data on public-sector union finances, we took a more narrowly-tailored approach: identifying the most prominent public-sector unions in each state and compiling financial information disclosed via IRS filings.

For more complete information on our methodology, including a discussion of existing research and the various challenges involved in collecting data, please see this article.

Summary of findings
We collected data for 228 unions nationwide, averaging about five in each state. We identified these unions based on media reports, consultation with experts on the ground, and our own research efforts. Generally speaking, union revenues come largely from members’ dues. Unions might also generate revenues through investments, the sale of assets, or non-dues contributions. Aggregate revenues for these 228 unions during the most recent federal reporting periods totaled $2.1 billion. In terms, the top five revenues were as follows:

  • New York, where five unions brought in $459.6 million, approximately 22 percent of the nationwide total.
  • California, where six unions brought in $295.6 million, 14 percent of the nationwide total.
  • New Jersey, where four unions brought in $140.1 million, 7 percent of the nationwide total.
  • Illinois, where five unions brought in $111.3 million, 5 percent of the nationwide total.
  • Pennsylvania, where five unions brought $110.5 million, 5 percent of the nationwide total.

Combined revenues from the unions in these five states totaled $1.1 billion, about 53 percent of the nationwide total. Meanwhile, revenues in the 25 states rounding out the bottom of our list totaled $183.6 million — about 9 percent of the nationwide total.

For a complete breakdown of our financial data, including links to state-specific data sets, see this article. Join us next week for a discussion of unions’ political spending.

The big picture

Number of relevant bills by state

We are currently tracking 102 pieces of legislation dealing with public-sector employee union policy. On the map below, a darker shade of green indicates a greater number of relevant bills. Click here for a complete list of all the bills we’re tracking.

Union Station map September 20, 2019.png

Number of relevant bills by current legislative status

Union Station status chart September 20, 2019.png

Number of relevant bills by partisan status of sponsor(s)

Union Station partisan chart September 20, 2019.png

Recent legislative actions

Below is a complete list of legislative actions taken since our last issue. Bills are listed in alphabetical order, first by state then by bill number.

  • Massachusetts H3854: This bill would authorize employers to disclose personal employee information to unions. It would also permit unions to require non-members to pay for the costs associated with grievance and arbitration proceedings. It would require employers to provide unions with access to employees, and it would allow for dues deduction authorizations to be irrevocable for a period of up to one year.
    • Senate overrode governor’s veto Sept.19.
  • New Hampshire HB363: This bill would establish the state legislature as a public employer under the state’s public-employer labor relations laws.
    • Legislative Administration Committee work session scheduled for Sept. 26.


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