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Tax deduction for union dues included in budget plan

Union Station

Tax deduction for union dues included in budget plan 

A federal tax deduction for union dues is part of Democrats’ budget plan for fiscal year 2022. 

About the union dues tax deduction

On Sept. 15, the House Ways and Means Committee approved its portion of Democrats’ budget reconciliation package, the Build Back Better Act. Section 138514 of Subtitle I, titled “Allowance of Deduction for Certain Expenses of the Trade or Business of Being an Employee,” says, “The provision allows for up to $250 in dues to a labor organization be claimed as an above-the-line deduction. The provision is effective for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2021.”

Republicans on the Ways and Means Committee opposed the deduction. An amendment sponsored by Rep. Lloyd Smucker (R-Pa.) to strike the deduction was defeated 25-18 along party lines. 

Before 2017, union dues were a work-related expense that could be included in an itemized (“below-the-line”) deduction of expenses exceeding 2% of the employee’s adjusted gross income. Republicans removed most work-related itemized deductions in the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). 

About the 2022 budget 

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) introduced the budget resolution for fiscal year 2022 on Aug. 9. A budget resolution outlines instructions for Congress to use in drafting its spending plan. Passing a budget resolution is a necessary requirement before Congress may use the reconciliation process for a final budget package. The reconciliation process allows the Senate to pass a budget with a simple majority instead of the 60 votes necessary to invoke cloture and override the filibuster

The Senate approved the budget resolution on Aug. 11, and the House of Representatives approved it on Aug. 24. House and Senate committees then had until Sept. 15 to draft their legislation for the reconciliation package.

The deadline for Congress to pass a budget and avoid government shutdown is Sept. 30, as fiscal year 2022 begins on Oct. 1. On Sept. 21, the House voted 220-211 to pass a temporary continuing resolution to fund the government through Dec. 3. The bill went to the Senate on Sept. 22, where it requires 60 votes to pass. 

Democrats have a 220-212 majority in the House. The Senate is split 50-50 with Vice President Kamala Harris (D) having the tie-breaking vote.

Perspectives 

Support for union dues deductions 

In April 2021, Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) said of a similar piece of proposed legislation, “Unions are the backbone of the middle class, supporting workers, wage growth and fair economic conditions. In 2017, Republicans eliminated tax deductions for workers and instead gave massive tax cuts for large, profitable corporations. [The Tax Fairness for Workers Act] would put money back in the pockets of working families by reinstating deductions for union dues and other unreimbursed employee expenses.” 

A 2020 Center for American Progress Action Fund brief stated, “This type of [above-the-line] deduction would allow union members to deduct the costs of earning their income and result in the tax code more accurately measuring individuals’ ability to pay.”

Opposition to union dues deductions

Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas), ranking member of the Ways and Means Committee, said, “In effect, they’ve forced the 90% of workers in America who aren’t in a union to subsidize the dues of those who are.”

Dominic Pino, a fellow at the National Review Institute, wrote, “By making union dues tax deductible, Democrats are essentially making it more financially viable for people to contribute to organizations that help elect Democrats.”

What we’re reading

The big picture

Number of relevant bills by state

We are currently tracking 99 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. 

Number of relevant bills by current legislative status

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

Recent legislative actions

No public-sector union bills saw activity this week.



Public-sector union responses to COVID-19 vaccine mandates

Exploring public-sector union responses to COVID-19 vaccine mandates

Public-sector unions have issued a range of responses to federal and state mandates requiring government workers to get a COVID-19 vaccine. However, most unions state that they should have input on how such policies are implemented. 

Public-sector union responses to federal vaccine mandate

On Sept. 9, President Joe Biden (D) announced a new COVID-19 plan, including “an emergency rule to require all employers with 100 or more employees … to ensure their workforces are fully vaccinated or show a negative test at least once a week.” The same day, Biden signed Executive Order 14043, which states that in order to promote workforce health and safety, “it is necessary to require COVID-19 vaccination for all Federal employees, subject to such exceptions as required by law.” 

Representatives from major public-sector unions responded:     

  • AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler said on Sept. 10, “The resurgence of COVID-19 requires swift and immediate action, and we commend President Biden for taking additional steps to help put an end to this crisis. Everyone should be vaccinated—as one step in stopping the pandemic. Workers and unions should have a voice in shaping these policies.” 
  • On Sept. 9, American Federation of Government Employees President Everett Kelley said, “Since the vaccines first became widely available, we have strongly encouraged all our members to take one of the several safe, effective vaccines against COVID-19. … Likewise, since President Biden made his first major announcement about changing COVID-19 protocols for the federal workforce in response to the surging Delta variant, we have said that changes like this should be negotiated with our bargaining units where appropriate. … Neither of these positions has changed. We expect to bargain over this change prior to implementation, and we urge everyone who is able to get vaccinated as soon as they can do so.”
  • American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten said on Sept. 9, “The AFT wants to beat the pandemic, and that means now we must work together as a community. That’s why we stand in complete support of this plan and of the administration’s effort to protect as many people as possible.” 
  • On Sept. 9, Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association President Larry Cosme said, “The Biden-Harris Administration’s action to mandate the COVID-19 vaccine for all federal employees is ill conceived. … This executive order villainizes employees for reasonable concerns and hesitancies and inserts the federal government into individual medical decisions. People should not be made to feel uncomfortable for making a reasonable medical choice.”
  • On Sept. 15, the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) stated, “Currently, it is unclear how the executive orders and [emergency rule for employers with over 100 employees] will affect letter carriers and the Postal Service. As more information becomes available, NALC will review and bargain over any rulings that affect our members.” The American Postal Workers Union (APWU) stated on Sept. 10 that Biden’s executive orders “do not expressly apply to Postal Service Employees,” and that the union was waiting for more information on the emergency rule. In July, the union stated, “While the APWU leadership continues to encourage postal workers to voluntarily get vaccinated, it is not the role of the federal government to mandate vaccinations for the employees we represent.” 

Public-sector union responses to state vaccine mandates

Twenty states have issued COVID-19 vaccine requirements for state employees. Here are how some unions responded in four states: California, Hawaii, Vermont, and Washington.  

California

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced on July 26 that all state employees would be required to be vaccinated for COVID-19 or submit to weekly testing. 

Some unions, including SEIU Local 1000, the International Union of Operating Engineers, and  Cal Fire Local 2881, filed complaints following the mandate. SEIU Local 1000 sent a cease and desist letter to the California Department of Human Resources that said, “This is a change in the terms and working conditions of our represented employees and requires meeting and conferring with the union prior to implementing the change.” Tim Edwards, president of Cal Fire Local 2881, said, “We oppose mandating vaccinations and believe the state has a contractual obligation to meet and confer with labor over any possible impacts to the employees.”

Other unions expressed more support for the mandate. Glen Stailey, president of the California Correctional Peace Officers Association, said: “Newsom’s new vaccine policy is a reasonable compromise that we can get behind. It provides for regular testing at work for those who have chosen not to get vaccinated — this will prevent the spread of the virus among correctional officers and incarcerated individuals alike.” The California Statewide Law Enforcement Association said the union was “in the process of confirming that testing will be done at no cost to the employee and on State time and how employees will be compensated for self-quarantine if mandated to do so.”  

Hawaii

Hawaii Gov. David Ige (D) issued a proclamation on Aug. 5 requiring state and county employees to be vaccinated for COVID-19 or undergo regular testing. The same day, six public-sector unions—the Hawaii State Teachers Association, the Hawaii Fire Fighters Association, Hawaii Government Employees Association, the State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers, the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly, and the United Public Workers—released a joint statement responding to the mandate. The unions said they had contacted the governor’s office “to initiate discussions about the vaccine mandate” but had been denied. The statement continued: “The emergency proclamation will impact our members’ working conditions and the employer must bargain those impacts with the appropriate collective bargaining units. Details on how tests will be administered, how results will be kept confidential, and how the state will fund this mandate will need to be negotiated with the state and we look forward to having those discussions right away.”

Vermont

On Sept. 8, Vermont Gov. Phil Scott (R) announced that the state’s vaccine requirement would be expanded to all state executive branch employees. Vermont State Employees Association (VSEA) President Steve Howard said, “The low hanging fruit is maybe requiring it of state employees. … The tougher part, which requires some leadership, is to say to the public, ‘You have to do your part.’”  

Washington

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) announced a vaccine requirement for state workers on Aug. 9. Washington Federation of State Employees/AFSCME Council 28 (WFSE)’s initial attempts to reach a bargaining agreement with the state over the mandate were unsuccessful, and WFSE filed an unfair labor practice lawsuit in the Thurston County Superior Court on Aug. 26. A press release from the union said: “[Inslee’s] proclamation impairs the union’s right to bargain on behalf of employees and impairs the ability to ensure a fair and reasonable exemption process. The lawsuit alleges an unfair labor practice for refusal to bargain in good faith.”

After further negotiations with the state, WFSE members ratified an agreement on Sept. 9 outlining an exemption process and conditions of employment. WFSE President Mike Yestramski said: “Our union was able to achieve what we set out for—a victory for public health and due process. … Now, we have an agreement that incentivizes vaccination and helps ensure a fair process for workers requesting a medical or religious exemption.” Since an agreement has been reached, WFSE is dropping the lawsuit. 

For more information about the 20 states that have issued vaccine requirements for state employees, click here

What we’re reading

The big picture

Number of relevant bills by state

We are currently tracking 99 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. 

Number of relevant bills by current legislative status

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

Recent legislative actions

Below is a complete list of relevant legislative actions taken since our last issue. 

  • Delaware HB237: This bill grants select law enforcement officers the right of organization and representation.  
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • Governor signed Sept. 10. 



Union Station: Biden, AFSCME include Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act in Labor Day statements

Biden, AFSCME include Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act in Labor Day statements

Over Labor Day weekend, President Joe Biden (D) and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) each reiterated their endorsements of the Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act (PSFNA), congressional legislation originally introduced in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2018 decision in Janus v. AFSCME

Biden issued a Labor Day proclamation on Sept. 3 that said, “American workers should make their own decisions –- free from coercion and intimidation — about organizing with their co-workers to have a stronger voice in their workplaces, their communities, and their government. That is why I strongly support the Protecting the Right to Organize [PRO] Act and the Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act.” (The PRO Act, which passed the U.S. House of Representatives in March, would amend federal labor laws for private sector workers.) 

AFSCME President Lee Saunders said in a Labor Day statement that the PSFNA would “empower public employees nationwide with collective bargaining rights, giving us the seat at the table we deserve.” AFSCME also highlighted its support for the act on its blog and Facebook page over the weekend. 

About the Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act 

First introduced the day of the Supreme Court’s decision in Janus v. AFSCME, and reintroduced a year later, the PSFNA would “[set] a minimum nationwide standard for collective bargaining rights that all states must provide to public sector workers,” according to the bill’s fact sheet.  

Versions of the bill were introduced and referred to committee in June 2018, during the 115th Congress, and in June 2019, during the 116th Congress. Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) and Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-Pa.) sponsored the bill both years. Neither version of the bill made it to a vote.

The 2019 bill says, “Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, the [Federal Labor Relations Authority] shall issue rules and take such actions that the Authority determines appropriate to establish and administer collective bargaining rights and procedures that substantially provide for the rights and procedures described in [the section of the act outlining federal minimum standards for collective bargaining rights].” The Federal Labor Relations Authority is the entity that administers federal labor relations.

The bill would establish the following rights for public employees: 

(A) to self-organization;

(B) to form, join, or assist a labor organization or to refrain from any such activity;

(C) to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing; and

(D) to engage in other concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid (including the filing of joint class or collective legal claims) or protection.

For more information about each version of the bill on Congress.gov, click here.

Perspectives

Support

  • In August 2020, a report from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) said: “Currently more than half of the states lack comprehensive collective bargaining laws for public-service workers like teachers. Public-service workers deserve the right to join together in unions to fight for stronger safety and health protections, better pay, and better working conditions.” The EPI describes its mission as “to inform and empower individuals to seek solutions that ensure broadly shared prosperity and opportunity.”  
  • A fact sheet for the Communications Workers of America’s June 2020 legislative-political conference said, “Since the outrageous, anti-worker Supreme Court decision in Janus vs. AFSCME, public service workers across the country work under this unfair free rider law. It’s time to level the playing field by establishing federal protections to guarantee public service workers the right to join together and collectively bargain.” 
  • An October 2019 AFL-CIO legislative alert said, “Unlike the private sector, there is no federal law that protects the freedom of state and local public service workers to join in a union and collectively bargain for fair wages, hours, and working conditions. … It’s time to even the playing field for working people and public servants by passing the Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act.”  
  • A June 2019 legislative report from AFSCME said the PSFNA was “needed to unrig a system that favors the wealthy over working people. It marks another big step forward in the growing political and grassroots momentum behind unions after years of attacks on workers from right-wing special interests and politicians.”
  • In June 2019, American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten said, “The Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act closes the chasm in public sector bargaining rights, ensuring minimum standards are in place across the nation, while retaining flexibility for states to write and administer their own laws. … [T]his bill helps public workers achieve together what would be impossible alone—better and more-efficient services, dignity and a voice at work, and fair compensation and benefits for the work they do. We are proud to support it.” 

Opposition

  • In March 2021, National Right to Work Committee (NRTWC) President Mark Mix wrote, “A federal power grab introduced in the 2019-20 Congress as H.R.3464/S.1970, and strongly endorsed by Biden … would, by federal fiat, foist union monopoly bargaining on state and local fire fighters and other public-sector workers in all 50 states.” NRTWC describes itself as “a coalition of 2.8 million workers and concerned Americans fighting to break the chains of forced unionism.”
  • A January 2021 report from the Mackinac Center for Public Policy said, “The Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act represents another tremendous threat to worker freedom. This act, while incapable of overriding the Supreme Court’s 2018 Janus v. AFSCME decision … would nevertheless drastically limit state’s [sic] abilities to manage government employees. … Most notably, the PSFNA would force all states to adopt collective bargaining with almost no limitation.” The Mackinac Center describes itself as “a nonprofit research and educational institute that advances the principles of free markets and limited government.” 
  • In September 2019, Empire Center for Public Policy fellow Ken Girardin said, “While supporters claim the proposed law merely intends to protect union bargaining rights, it would represent a major change in the federal government’s long-standing neutrality towards state and local labor relations. … Requiring binding arbitration, as opposed to simply allowing parties to come to terms directly, would be a one-way street to inflexible and expensive labor deals.” The Empire Center, a New York–based think tank, says its mission is to “Make New York a better place to live and work by promoting public policy reforms grounded in free-market principles, personal responsibility, and the ideals of effective and accountable government.”  
  • In July 2018, Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) policy analyst Trey Kovacs wrote, “The more concerning aspect of the bill is it grants broad power to the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA), which currently governs only federal employee labor relations, to enforce the legislation and to determine whether states are in compliance with its requirements. … The FLRA’s regulations will essentially override current state labor relations law and establish collective bargaining procedures for the state.” CEI’s mission is to “promote both freedom and fairness by making good policy good politics.”

What we’re reading

The big picture

Number of relevant bills by state

We are currently tracking 99 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. 

Number of relevant bills by current legislative status

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

Recent legislative actions

No public-sector union bills saw activity this week.




Union Station: Lawyers file class action complaint against State Bar of Texas

Lawyers file class action complaint against State Bar of Texas

On Aug. 30, three members of the State Bar of Texas filed a class action complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas alleging that the bar is violating their First Amendment rights. 

About the complaint 

The plaintiffs are attorneys Robert S. Bennett, Nachael Foster, and Andrew Bayley. Their complaint is a class action suit on behalf of “all Texas-licensed attorneys, past or present, and on either active or inactive status, who have endured First Amendment violations because of the Texas Bar’s relevant unlawful conduct.” Richard A. Robins, who runs the website texasbarsunset.com, represents the plaintiffs. The complaint names the Texas Bar “and culpable officials within it” as defendants. 

The complaint references the Fifth Circuit’s July 2021 ruling in McDonald v. Longley. In that case, a three-judge panel ruled that because the Texas Bar engaged in ideological activities that were not relevant to its core functions, compelling lawyers to join the bar violated their First Amendment rights. 

Referring to that decision, the complaint states that the Fifth Circuit “ruled that the Defendants have impermissibly, unlawfully and enduringly spent attorney members’ coercively extracted annual dues on ideological and political endeavors that are not germane to regulating or improving the practice of law here in Texas.” The plaintiffs allege the bar has “continued demanding full dues payments from the membership by no later than [August 31, 2021]. As of the date of this filing, they have also offered no refunds for their already sufficiently proven and established transgressions. They continue proceeding callously, resulting in further damage to the Class.” 

The plaintiffs allege that by requiring members to pay dues, the bar violates their freedoms of association, speech, and—in some cases—religion.

Reuters reports: “Texas Bar spokesman Amy Starnes said the association is committed to complying with the 5th Circuit decision in a timely manner, and is taking steps to update its policies and procedures. She said the new complaint is being reviewed.” 

The case name and number are Bennett v. Texas (4:21-cv-02829).

About McDonald v. Longley

On March 6, 2019, plaintiffs Tony McDonald, Joshua Hammer, and Mark Pulliam filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas claiming mandatory membership in the State Bar of Texas violated their First and Fourteenth Amendment rights. The plaintiffs alleged that the bar’s opt-out process was “inadequate to ensure that members are not coerced into funding the Bar’s political and ideological activities.”

On May 29, 2020, the U.S. District Court ruled in the state bar’s favor. The plaintiffs appealed to the Fifth Circuit in June 2020.  

On July 2, 2021, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit—Judges Don Willett, Jerry E. Smith, and Stuart Kyle Duncan—overturned the district court’s ruling and returned the case to the lower court, saying the bar “engaged in non-germane activities, so compelling the plaintiffs to join it violates their First Amendment rights.” The Fifth Circuit blocked the state bar from requiring membership or dues of the plaintiffs while the case is pending in the lower court. President Donald Trump (R) appointed Willett and Duncan, and President Ronald Reagan (R) appointed Smith.  

What we’re reading

The big picture

Number of relevant bills by state

We are currently tracking 99 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. 

Number of relevant bills by current legislative status

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

Recent legislative actions

Below is a complete list of relevant legislative actions taken since our last issue. 

  • Illinois HB2521: This bill allows electronic signatures on petitions submitted for selecting an exclusive bargaining representative. It allows certification elections to be conducted electronically. It also prohibits an employer from promising or taking action against an employee for participating in a strike.
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • Governor approved Aug. 27; effective immediately. 
  • New York S07355: This bill would prevent public employers from firing or disciplining public employees who were selected to represent an employee organization or who commented on related matters.
    • Democratic sponsorship.  
    • Referred to Senate Rules Committee Aug. 30. 



Union Station: Biden appoints 10 members to Federal Service Impasses Panel

Biden appoints 10 members to Federal Service Impasses Panel

On Aug. 23, President Joe Biden (D) announced the names of 10 individuals he planned to appoint to the Federal Service Impasses Panel (FSIP), which has been vacant since shortly after Biden took office. The FSIP is an entity of the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA). 

Biden asked the 10 FSIP members who were on the panel when he took office to resign in February, ultimately firing two who did not resign. This move was considered routine: Barack Obama (D) discharged the George W. Bush (R) administration’s panel in March 2009 and Donald Trump (R) discharged the Obama administration’s panel in May 2017. 

According to U.S. Code, the FSIP’s function is “to provide assistance in resolving negotiation impasses between agencies and exclusive representatives.” 

Everett Kelley, president of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), responded to the appointments: “AFGE strongly supports President Biden’s selections to the Federal Service Impasses Panel. We are confident that these members will fairly resolve labor disputes between unions and agencies and restore dignity and fairness to the panel and its important work on behalf of federal employees.” The AFL-CIO affiliated AFGE is the country’s largest federal workers’ union. 

AFGE filed multiple lawsuits against the Trump administration panel which alleged—among other complaints—that members of the panel should have been confirmed by the Senate. They based this on the Appointments Clause of the U.S. Constitution. Some of these lawsuits have been dismissed. However, Judge Richard J. Leon of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia wrote that another pending case “may well be a meaningful avenue to review [the AFGE’s] Appointments Clause challenge.” George W. Bush nominated Leon to the court. 

According to Reuters, FSIP appointees “are traditionally not confirmed by the Senate because the panel is subordinate to the Federal Labor Relations Authority.” Biden did not seek Senate confirmation for his appointees. 

Obama named seven new appointees to the panel in September 2009, and Trump named his first seven appointees in July 2017. 

About the Federal Service Impasses Panel

Title 5 Section 7119 of the U.S. Code says, “The Panel shall be composed of a Chairman and at least six other members, who shall be appointed by the President, solely on the basis of fitness to perform duties and functions involved, from among individuals who are familiar with Government operations and knowledgeable in labor-management relations.” Members serve five-year terms unless appointed to fill a vacancy, in which case they serve the predecessor’s unexpired term. 

The panel investigates requests for assistance in resolving disputes between federal agencies and unions and may make recommendations or guide the parties through dispute resolution steps. According to the panel’s website, “If the parties still are unable to reach a voluntary settlement after the use of these procedures, the Panel may take whatever action it deems necessary to resolve the dispute.” This includes setting contract terms that are not able to be appealed. 

Past FSIP decisions can be viewed here.  

What we’re reading

The big picture

Number of relevant bills by state

We are currently tracking 98 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. 

Number of relevant bills by current legislative status

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

Recent legislative actions

No public-sector union bills saw activity this week.




Union Station: Union dues lawsuit heads to Supreme Court

Ninth Circuit grants plaintiffs’ request to uphold district court dismissal of union dues lawsuit

On Aug. 16, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit granted two Alaska state employees’ request to uphold a district court’s dismissal of their lawsuit so they can appeal the case to the U.S. Supreme Court. The court proceedings had been on hold since September 2020, awaiting the resolution of Belgau v. Inslee, which the Supreme Court declined to hear on June 21, 2021.  

Parties to the suit

The plaintiffs are Linda Creed, who works for the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, and Tyler Riberio, who works for the Alaska Department of Transportation. Attorneys from the Liberty Justice Center, which says it “fights for the constitutional rights of American families, workers, advocates and entrepreneurs,” represent the plaintiffs. The Alaska Policy Forum, which says its “mission is to empower and educate Alaskans and policymakers by promoting policies that grow freedom for all,” also assisted in the lawsuit. 

The defendants are the Alaska State Employees Association (ASEA), an affiliate of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, and former Alaska Commissioner of Administration Kelly Tshibaka in her official capacity. Attorneys from Altshuler Berzon LLP, Dillon & Findley, P.C., and Consovoy McCarthy PLLC represent the defendants. 

About the case 

The plaintiffs filed their complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska on March 16, 2020. The plaintiffs wanted to cancel their union memberships and paycheck deductions following the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2018 ruling in Janus v. AFSCME. They alleged that the defendants’ continued deductions of union dues from their paychecks according to a timetable plaintiffs agreed to before the Janus ruling had violated their First Amendment rights. The plaintiffs’ attorneys said the authorizations “[could not] constitute affirmative consent by those employees to waive their First Amendment right to not pay union dues or fees … because the Supreme Court had not yet recognized that right.” 

On July 14, 2020, Senior U.S. District Judge H. Russel Holland, who was appointed to the court by President Ronald Reagan (R), granted ASEA’s motion to dismiss. Holland wrote that the plaintiffs “voluntarily agreed to join the union and have dues deducted from their paychecks. Their union membership agreements were binding contracts that remain enforceable even after Janus. … Because of these binding contracts, plaintiffs have not stated a plausible violation of their First Amendment rights.”

The plaintiffs appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on Aug. 25, 2020. On Sept. 11, 2020, the court granted ASEA’s motion to delay the proceedings until Belgau v. Inslee, which was then-pending in the Ninth Circuit, was resolved. On Sept. 16, 2020, a Ninth Circuit panel upheld the district court’s decision in Belgau v. Inslee, writing: “In the face of [plaintiffs’] voluntary agreement to pay union dues and in the absence of any legitimate claim of compulsion, the district court appropriately dismissed the First Amendment claim.” On June 21, 2021, the Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal in Belgau v. Inslee

After the Supreme Court’s decision not to hear Belgau v. Inslee, Creed and Riberio filed a motion in the Ninth Circuit requesting summary affirmance—a decision without an opinion—on July 2, 2021. The plaintiffs’ motion stated:

The Court’s decision in Belgau that no First Amendment waiver is required before dues are deducted pursuant to an employee’s dues deduction authorization forecloses Plaintiffs’ claims for retrospective relief, while the parties agree that this Court lacks jurisdiction over Plaintiffs’ claims for prospective relief. 

To be clear, Plaintiffs do not concede that Belgau is correctly decided. …

Plaintiffs, nonetheless, acknowledge that Belgau is currently controlling circuit precedent barring their claims for retrospective relief, and that their claims for prospective relief are now moot. They therefore move the Court to summarily affirm the District Court’s decision on the ground that their appeal is currently controlled by Belgau, so Plaintiffs may petition the United States Supreme Court for review.

On Aug. 16, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit granted the plaintiffs’ request, upholding the district court’s decision.  The panel included Senior Judge Mary Schroeder, a Jimmy Carter (D) appointee, Senior Judge A. Wallace Tashima, a Bill Clinton (D) appointee, and Judge Andrew Hurwitz, a Barack Obama (D) appointee. 

The plaintiffs plan to appeal the case to the Supreme Court.

The case name and number are Creed v. Alaska State Employees Association, 20-35743.

About the Ninth Circuit 

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit hears appeals from the district courts within its jurisdiction, which includes Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. The chief judge of the court is Sidney Thomas, a Clinton appointee. Of the court’s 29 active judges, Clinton nominated nine, George W. Bush (R) nominated three, Obama nominated seven, and Donald Trump (R) nominated 10.  

What we’re reading

The big picture

Number of relevant bills by state

We are currently tracking 98 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. 

Number of relevant bills by current legislative status

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

Recent legislative actions

No public-sector union bills saw activity this week.




Union Station: Proposed California initiative would ban public-sector unions

Proposed California initiative would ban public-sector unions 

On Aug. 9, 2021, venture capitalist Timothy Draper filed a proposal with the California attorney general’s office for an initiated constitutional amendment that would prohibit public-sector workers from forming unions. If supporters gather enough valid signatures, it will appear on the Nov. 8, 2022, ballot. 

While some states have prohibitions on public-sector collective bargaining, no states currently ban public-sector unions. 

About the initiative

The measure would prohibit public-sector employee unions in California. It would add the following section to article VII of the state constitution:

Sec. 1.5(a) No public employee shall have the right to form, join, or participate in the activities of a public employee labor organization for the purpose of representing said employees on matters of employer-employee relations.

(b) For purposes of this section:

(1) “Public employee” means any employee of the State and any of its political subdivisions including, but not limited to, counties, cities, charter counties, charter cities, charter city and counties, school districts, the University of California, special districts, boards, commissions, and agencies of the State or any political subdivision.

(2) “Public employee labor organization” means an organization of any kind, or any agency, employee representation committee, or plan in which public employees participate and which exists for the purpose, in whole or in part, of dealing with employer-employee relations including, but not limited to, wages, rates of pay, benefits, hours of employment, grievances, labor disputes, or conditions of work.

(c) The Legislature or the legislative body employing a public employee may provide a severance payment, not to exceed 12 months of employee pay, to any public employee who desires to terminate their employment within 90 days of the enactment of this section.

The initiative says that existing collective bargaining agreements would remain in effect. 

In an Aug. 10 Medium post, Draper said he believed the initiative was the “most important issue Californians can get behind.”   

According to the California secretary of state’s office, the estimated date the attorney general will issue the circulating language for this initiative is Oct. 13, 2021. The petition will be allowed to circulate for 180 days after the official summary date. 

In California, the number of signatures needed to place a citizen-initiated constitutional amendment on the ballot is equal to eight percent of the votes cast in the preceding gubernatorial election. To make the 2022 ballot, 997,139 registered voters must sign the petition. For more information about the California initiative process, click here.

About the sponsor 

Draper is a venture capitalist and cryptocurrency investor whose past investments include companies like Skype, Hotmail, and Tesla. He was previously involved with a 2016 initiative to divide California into six states and a 2018 initiative to divide California into three states. The 2016 initiative failed to qualify for the ballot. The 2018 initiative qualified for the ballot, but the California Supreme Court removed it due to “significant questions … raised regarding the proposition’s validity.” Draper contributed $5.27 million to the 2016 effort and $3.25 million to the 2018 effort.       

What we’re reading

The big picture

Number of relevant bills by state

We are currently tracking 98 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. 

Number of relevant bills by current legislative status

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

Recent legislative actions

No public-sector union bills saw activity this week.




Union Station: 9th Circuit cites Belgau v. Inslee in affirming 8 district court decisions

Ninth Circuit cites Belgau v. Inslee in affirming eight district court decisions

On July 29, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit—Senior Judge Mary Schroeder, Senior Judge Barry Silverman, and Judge Mary Murguia—upheld eight district court decisions favorable to public-sector unions, citing the Ninth Circuit’s 2020 ruling in Belgau v. Inslee in each case. 

About Belgau v. Inslee

On Sept. 16, 2020, Ninth Circuit Judges M. Margaret McKeown and Morgan Christen, and U.S. District Judge M. Douglas Harpool, affirmed a district court ruling that collective bargaining agreements that restrict the terms under which union members can resign their membership and cease paying dues do not violate the First Amendment. McKeown wrote, “The First Amendment does not support Employees’ right to renege on their promise to join and support the union. This promise was made in the context of a contractual relationship between the union and its employees. When ‘legal obligations . . . are self-imposed,’ state law, not the First Amendment, normally governs.” Bill Clinton (D) nominated McKeown to the court, and Barack Obama (D) nominated Christen and Harpool. 

The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal of the ruling on June 21, 2021. 

How the July 29 decisions cited Belgau

McCollum v. NEA-Alaska 

  • Appeal from: U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska
  • Original complaint: Aug. 2, 2018
  • Plaintiffs’ representation: Mitchell Law PLLC
  • District judge: John W. Sedwick 
  • District court ruling: March 14, 2019
  • How the Ninth Circuit cited Belgau: “Dismissal of [plaintiff Donn Liston]’s First Amendment claim against the union defendants was proper because the deduction of union membership dues arose from the private membership agreements between the union defendants and plaintiffs, and ‘private dues agreements do not trigger state action and independent constitutional scrutiny.’”

Hernandez v. AFSCME California

  • Appeal from: U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California
  • Original complaint: Aug. 31, 2018
  • Plaintiffs’ representation: Mitchell Law PLLC
  • District judge: William B. Shubb
  • District court ruling: Dec. 19, 2019
  • How the Ninth Circuit cited Belgau: “Summary judgment was proper on plaintiffs’ First Amendment claims arising from union membership dues deductions. See Belgau v. Inslee … (concluding that the Supreme Court’s decision in Janus v. American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees, Council 31 … did not extend a First Amendment right to avoid paying union dues that were agreed upon under validly entered membership agreements).”

Mark Smith v. Kate Bieker

  • Appeal from: U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California
  • Original complaint: Sept. 6, 2018
  • Plaintiffs’ representation: National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation
  • District judge: Vince Chhabria
  • District court ruling: June 13, 2019
  • How the Ninth Circuit cited Belgau: “Summary judgment on [plaintiff Mark Smith]’s First Amendment claim against AFSCME Local 2700 was proper because the deduction of union membership dues arose from the private membership agreement between AFSCME Local 2700 and Smith, and ‘private dues agreements do not trigger state action and independent constitutional scrutiny.’”

Mendez v. CTA

  • Appeal from: U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California
  • Original complaint: March 11, 2019
  • Plaintiffs’ representation: Freedom Foundation; Dhillon Law Group
  • District judge: Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers
  • District court ruling: Jan. 16, 2020
  • How the Ninth Circuit cited Belgau: “The district court properly dismissed plaintiffs’ First Amendment claims against [the defendants] because the deduction of union membership dues arose from the private membership agreements between the union defendants and plaintiffs, and ‘private dues agreements do not trigger state action and independent constitutional scrutiny.’”

Seager v. UTLA

  • Appeal from: U.S. District Court for the Central District of California
  • Original complaint: Jan. 22, 2019
  • Plaintiffs’ representation: National Right To Work Legal Defense Foundation; Smith and Myers LLP 
  • District judge: Josephine L. Staton
  • District court ruling: Aug. 21, 2019
  • How the Ninth Circuit cited Belgau: “Dismissal of [plaintiff Irene Seager]’s First Amendment claim against United Teachers of Los Angeles (“UTLA”) was proper because the deduction of union membership dues arose from private membership agreements between UTLA and Seager, and ‘private dues agreements do not trigger state action and independent constitutional scrutiny.’”

Grossman v. Hawaii Government Employees Association

  • Appeal from: U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii
  • Original complaint: Dec. 20, 2018
  • Plaintiffs’ representation: Liberty Justice Center
  • District judge: Derrick Kahala Watson
  • District court ruling: Jan. 31, 2020
  • How the Ninth Circuit cited Belgau: “The parties agree that this court’s intervening decision in Belgau v. Inslee …  controls the outcome of [plaintiff Patricia Grossman]’s First Amendment claim arising from the collection of union dues under her membership agreement. We affirm the district court’s summary judgment because Grossman affirmatively and voluntarily consented to the deduction of union dues.”

Anderson v. SEIU Local 503 

  • Appeal from: U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon
  • Original complaint: Nov. 20, 2018
  • Plaintiffs’ representation: Freedom Foundation; National Right To Work Legal Defense Foundation; Gibson Law Firm  
  • District judge: Marco A. Hernandez
  • District court ruling: Sept. 4, 2019
  • How the Ninth Circuit cited Belgau: “The parties agree that this court’s intervening decision in Belgau v. Inslee … controls the outcome of this appeal. We affirm the district court’s judgment dismissing plaintiffs’ action for failure to state a claim. See Belgau … (concluding that the Supreme Court’s decision in Janus v. American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees, Council 31 … did not extend a First Amendment right to avoid paying union dues that were agreed upon under validly entered union membership agreements).”

Durst v. Oregon Education Association 

  • Appeal from: U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon
  • Original complaint: June 11, 2019
  • Plaintiffs’ representation: Freedom Foundation
  • District judge: Michael J. McShane
  • District court ruling: March 31, 2020
  • How the Ninth Circuit cited Belgau: “Summary judgment was proper on plaintiffs’ First Amendment claims against [the defendants] because the deduction of union membership dues arose from private membership agreements between the parties, and ‘private dues agreements do not trigger state action and independent constitutional scrutiny.’”

Jimmy Carter (D) nominated Schroeder to the court, Clinton nominated Silverman, and Obama nominated Murguia. 

About the Ninth Circuit 

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit hears appeals from the district courts within its jurisdiction, which includes Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. The chief judge of the court is Sidney Thomas, a Clinton appointee. Of the court’s 29 active judges, Clinton nominated nine, George W. Bush (R) nominated three, Obama nominated seven, and Donald Trump (R) nominated 10.  

We are currently tracking 144 lawsuits related to public-sector union policy, 58 of which originated in the Ninth Circuit.

What we’re reading

The big picture

Number of relevant bills by state

We are currently tracking 98 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. 

Number of relevant bills by current legislative status

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

Recent legislative actions

No public-sector union bills saw activity this week.




Union Station: Minnesota Court dismisses challenge to state collective bargaining agreement

Minnesota District Court dismisses Republican legislators’ challenge of state collective bargaining agreement   

On July 19, Minnesota’s Second Judicial District Court dismissed a lawsuit that two Minnesota Republicans brought against the state’s office of management and budget. The legislators alleged that the state’s collective bargaining agreement violated state law because it was implemented without being ratified by both chambers of the state legislature.    

Parties to the suit

The plaintiffs are Minnesota state Rep. Marion O’Neill (R) and state Sen. Mark Koran (R) in their official and individual capacities. Attorneys from the Upper Midwest Law Center (UMLC) represent the plaintiffs. The UMLC says its “mission is to initiate pro-freedom litigation to protect against government overreach, special interest agendas, Constitutional violations, and public union corruption and abuses.” 

The defendants are Minnesota Management and Budget Commissioner Jim Schowalter in his official capacity and Minnesota Management and Budget, which is “responsible for producing the state budget, economic forecast, payroll, and human resource policies for the state enterprise.” State attorneys represented the defendants. 

What’s at issue 

The plaintiffs filed their complaint on December 30, 2020, in the Second Judicial District Court. The UMLC said: “Under Minnesota law, a majority vote of both the House and Senate must approve the state employee union bargaining agreements for them to be legally implemented. In this case, MMB implemented the agreement even though the Senate failed to approve the bill. Representative O’Neill and Senator Koran seek a writ of quo warranto or declaratory judgment to have the invalid bargaining agreements set aside.”

In a March 30 memorandum in support of their motion to dismiss, the defendants’ attorneys said, “Two legislators seek to overturn lawfully bargained-for and legislatively approved pay raises for approximately 50,000 State employees. … As a legal matter, however, this case is simple. Petitioners Representative Marion O’Neill and Senator Mark Koran do not have standing to pursue these claims.” State employee organizations filed an amicus curiae brief on April 7. The groups said that “by waiting until the challenged collective bargaining agreements (“CBAs”) have been in effect for many months before filing suit, Petitioners have ensured that granting the requested relief would have the maximum disruptive impact on established CBA terms and on the collective bargaining process under the Public Employment Labor Relations Act … Accordingly, Petitioners’ unreasonable delay in asserting their purported rights would result in significant prejudice to the bargaining parties and to the public if the requested relief were granted.” 

A hearing was held on April 27. 

How the court ruled

On July 19, Judge Lezlie Ott Marek, who Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) appointed in 2010, wrote:

Legislator standing is extremely narrow. Members of a legislature have standing to sue in their capacity as legislators only when they demonstrate injuries that are personal to them, as opposed to institutional injuries to the legislative body as whole. … Where a legislator fails to establish personal standing via vote nullification, the alleged injury is institutional. … Here, the Petitioners allege an injury that belongs to the legislature as whole—not to them as individuals. …

No Minnesota court has ever found that individual taxpayers have standing to seek an Order enjoining the implementation of negotiated collective bargaining agreements. Here, extending the doctrine of taxpayer standing on the facts of this case would make bad public policy on labor relations. The purpose of [the Public Employment Labor Relations Act] is to “promote orderly and constructive relationships between all public employers and their employees.” … The amicus brief filed by the unions correctly notes that allowing this lawsuit to proceed would interfere with the ”delineation of separate and distinct roles for the Commissioner and for the Legislature to establish an orderly and constructive system on collective bargaining.” …

For all of the reasons stated herein, Petitioners lack standing to bring this lawsuit, either as legislators or taxpayers, and the Petition must be dismissed on this threshold ground alone. Because the motion to dismiss has been granted, Petitioners’ motion for temporary injunction has been mooted and does not require ruling.

The case name and number are O’Neill v. Schowalter (62-CV-20-5865). Case documents can be viewed here.

Responses

Julie Bleyhl, executive director of AFSCME Council 5, said, “We are pleased that the courts have dismissed the harmful and egregious lawsuit … that would have directly harmed tens of thousands of state employees and our rights as workers. … As many thousands of our members are currently negotiating their next contract, it is clear that our union members will continue to fight for contracts that treat all workers with the respect and dignity they deserve and demand and lift up all workers throughout our state.”

James V. F. Dickey, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said, “We respectfully disagree with Judge Marek’s decision. … It’s unclear how any taxpayer in Minnesota could ever challenge illegal government spending based on the decision.” Dickey said the plaintiffs plan to appeal the ruling. An appeal would go to the Minnesota Court of Appeals.  

About Minnesota’s Second Judicial District Court 

The Minnesota district court system handles criminal, civil and family cases in each of Minnesota’s 87 counties. The counties are divided into ten judicial districts. The Second Judicial District encompasses Ramsey County. There are 29 judges on the court. 

The Minnesota Court of Appeals hears appeals from the state’s district courts, and the Minnesota Supreme Court is the state’s court of last resort.  

What we’re reading

The big picture

Number of relevant bills by state

We are currently tracking 98 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. 

Number of relevant bills by current legislative status

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

Recent legislative actions

Below is a complete list of relevant legislative actions taken since our last issue. 

  • Maine LD449: Existing law requires public employers and collective bargaining agents to meet within 10 days of receiving written notice of a request for a bargaining meeting.  This applies only if the parties have not otherwise agreed in an earlier contract. This bill would eliminate that exception.
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • Carried over to the next session on July 19.
  • Maine LD555: This bill would grant most public-sector employees the right to strike. Select public safety and judicial employees would not be allowed to strike. 
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • Carried over to the next session on July 19.



Union Station: Sixth Circuit rules Janus does not invalidate mandatory bar membership

Sixth Circuit rules Janus does not invalidate mandatory bar membership  

On July 15, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit upheld a 2020 ruling from the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan which found that the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2018 decision in Janus v. AFSCME does not invalidate mandatory bar association membership. 

The Sixth Circuit’s decision is the fourth appellate ruling on mandatory bar membership in recent weeks. The Tenth Circuit ruled on a challenge to the Oklahoma Bar Association and the Fifth Circuit ruled on challenges to the Louisiana State Bar Association and the State Bar of Texas. 

While the courts’ decisions in those three cases addressed the bars’ political or ideological activities, the plaintiff in this case did not allege that the State Bar of Michigan had funded impermissible activity and relied solely on Janus to overturn the membership requirement. In Keller v. State Bar of California, a 1990 decision cited in each of these rulings, the U.S. Supreme Court held that state bars may “constitutionally fund activities germane to those goals out of the mandatory dues of all members” but may not “fund activities of an ideological nature which fall outside of those areas of activity.” 

Parties to the suit

The plaintiff is Lucille Taylor, a Michigan attorney. The Mackinac Center Legal Foundation, which describes itself as a “public interest law firm that works to advance individual freedom and the rule of law in Michigan and across the country,” represents Taylor. The defendants are the president, president-elect, vice president, secretary, and treasurer of the State Bar of Michigan Board of Commissioners in their official capacities. Warner Norcross & Judd represents the defendants. 

What’s at issue, and how the lower court ruled

Taylor filed her lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan on Aug. 22, 2019. In the complaint, Taylor’s attorneys said, “In Janus, the Supreme Court stated that mandatory union dues or fees paid by public employees, which are similar to the bar dues at issue here, violated the employees’ free speech Rights … Previously, the United States Supreme Court upheld mandatory bar dues in Keller v. State Bar of California … relying on the reasoning of Abood v. Detroit Board of Education … However, Janus explicitly overruled Abood, calling into question Keller and other opinions that followed the reasoning of Abood.” Taylor asked the court to declare that mandatory bar membership violated her First and Fourteenth Amendment rights. 

On Sep. 8, 2020, the district court ruled in favor of the defendants. Judge Robert Jonker, a George W. Bush (R) appointee, wrote:

[T]he Court is satisfied that whatever wading [into the issues] needs to be done must happen in a higher Court because the Supreme Court has squarely decided the issues framed here in favor of the defendants. …

Plaintiff accepts that Lathrop and Keller rejected the claims she is making here, but urges this Court to revisit them in light of a line of Supreme Court authority culminating in Janus that, according to Plaintiff, calls into question the continuing validity of the holdings. This Court has no power to do that. 

Taylor appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in October 2020. 

How the Sixth Circuit ruled

On July 15, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit—Senior Judge Eugene Siler, Judge Karen Moore, and Judge Amul Thapar—upheld the district court ruling. 

Moore wrote

To Taylor’s credit, she acknowledges that Lathrop and Keller are an insurmountable hurdle if they remain good law. Taylor concedes that her compulsory membership in the State Bar of Michigan does not offend the First Amendment under either case. … And while the State Bar of Michigan does engage in advocacy germane to the legal profession, Taylor concedes that its activities do not cross the line set in Keller. … Instead, Taylor argues that Lathrop and Keller no longer bind this court because of intervening precedent in the form of Janus

Our cases are clear that we may not disregard Supreme Court precedent unless and until it has been overruled by the Court itself. … Even where intervening Supreme Court decisions have undermined the reasoning of an earlier decision, we must continue to follow the earlier case if it “directly controls” until the Court has overruled it. …

Here, the district court correctly concluded that Lathrop and Keller continue to bind the lower courts despite the Court’s ruling in Janus.

George H.W. Bush (R) nominated Siler to the court, Bill Clinton (D) nominated Moore, and Donald Trump (R) nominated Thapar.  

The case name and number are Taylor v. Buchanan et. al (20-2002).

About the Sixth Circuit  

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit hears appeals from the district courts within its jurisdiction, which includes Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee. The chief judge of the court is Jeffrey Sutton, a George W. Bush appointee. Of the court’s 16 active judges, Clinton appointed three, George W. Bush appointed five, Barack Obama (D) appointed two, and Trump appointed six.  

What we’re reading

The big picture

Number of relevant bills by state

We are currently tracking 98 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. 

Number of relevant bills by current legislative status

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

Recent legislative actions

Below is a complete list of relevant legislative actions taken since our last issue. 

  • Massachusetts H1946: This bill would allow public-sector employees to strike.
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • Joint Labor and Workforce Development Committee hearing held July 13. 
  • Massachusetts H2038: This bill would amend the laws governing strikes by public-sector workers.
    • Bipartisan sponsorship.
    • Joint Labor and Workforce Development Committee hearing held July 13.
  • Massachusetts H2060, H2061: This bill would establish that the personal contact information of public-sector workers cannot be made public. It would allow such information to be disclosed to labor unions.
    • Democratic sponsorship.
    • Joint Labor and Workforce Development Committee hearing held July 13. 
  • Massachusetts S1245: This bill would amend the laws governing strikes by public-sector workers. 
    • Bipartisan sponsorship.
    • Joint Labor and Workforce Development Committee hearing held July 13. 

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