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Florida Senate committee declines to take up House-passed public-sector union bill

Florida Senate committee declines to take up House-passed public-sector union bill  

The Florida House of Representatives passed HB 1197 on March 4. It was referred to the Senate Rules Committee, which did not take the bill up during its last scheduled meeting of the session on March 8. 

About the bill

Republican Reps. Cord Byrd and Scott Plakon sponsored HB 1197, which would have required public employees intending to join a union to sign an authorization form containing the following language:

“I acknowledge and understand that Florida is a right-to-work state and that union membership is not required as a condition of employment. I understand that union membership and payment of union dues and assessments are voluntary and that I may not be discriminated against in any manner if I refuse to join or financially support a union.”

The bill would also have required unions to allow public employees to end their membership by a written request, prevented employers from deducting union dues from employees’ wages, and amended requirements for bargaining agent recertification and union registration renewal. 

The bill made exceptions for unions representing law enforcement officers, correctional officers, and firefighters. 

About the legislative process

HB 1197, which was filed in the House on Jan. 5, received favorable reports from the Government Operations Subcommittee, State Administration & Technology Appropriations Subcommittee, and State Affairs Committee. The House passed the bill with a technical amendment on March 4. The vote was 60-47, with seven Republicans voting against the bill. 

After passing the House, HB 1197 was referred to the Senate Rules Committee. The Rules Committee met for its last scheduled meeting of the session on March 8. The committee chair, Sen. Kathleen Passidomo (R), did not take up the bill. Twelve Republicans and five Democrats serve on the committee. A similar bill died in the Rules Committee in 2021.

March 11 is the last day of the Florida Legislature’s 2022 regular session. Bills that are not passed do not carry over to the next session. The next regular session will convene on March 7, 2023. 

Republicans have had trifecta control of Florida’s government since 2011. The party holds a 78-41 majority in the House and a 24-15 majority in the Senate. 

Perspectives

Supporting

According to radio station WMNF, “House Bill sponsor Plakon [said] the bill would provide ‘greater transparency, accountability and democracy’ and modernize the process of dues deductions.” 

Rep. Byrd said, “This legislation recognizes teachers’ and other public employees’ rights to speak for themselves, choose how their hard-earned paychecks are spent, and participate in transparent elections to determine what union – if any – is best suited to represent their interests.” 

A March 4 press release from the Mackinac Center for Public Policy said the bill “[aimed] to make The Sunshine State’s public workplaces among the freest in the nation by protecting the First Amendment rights of teachers and other public employees. … Workers for Opportunity, a national initiative of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, [applauded] the advance of this important bill and the efforts of House leaders to prioritize the protection of these fundamental workplace freedoms.”  

Opposing

Florida Politics’ Jesse Scheckner wrote, “Opponents contended the bill represented a ‘cynical attempt to break up unions.’ And because the professions it would omit are all male-dominated fields, some argued it could face legal challenges that it violates the 14th Amendment’s ‘equal protection’ clause.”

Florida National Organization for Women representative Barbara DeVane said, “This is a very discriminatory bill — very misogynistic bill. … The war on women still rages in the Florida Legislature.” 

Hillsborough Classroom Teachers Association president Rob Kriete said, “Our public workers, our teachers, our support professionals, have been the heroes of this pandemic. We are calling on all lawmakers in Florida to give them the respect and the support that they deserve and not government harassment. They’ve been doing the hard work they’ve been meeting the needs of our students in our communities, and we ask [lawmakers] to continue to respect their constitutional rights.”

What we’re reading

The big picture

Number of relevant bills by state

We are currently tracking 128 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.

  • California AB1714: This bill would allow unions representing excluded state employees to request arbitration with the Department of Human Resources in certain circumstances.  
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • Assembly Public Employment and Retirement Committee hearing scheduled for March 16.   
  • California SB1406: This bill would allow unions representing excluded state employees to request arbitration with the Department of Human Resources in certain circumstances.   
    • Democratic sponsorship.
    • Referred to the Senate Labor, Public Employment, and Retirement Committee and Senate Judiciary Committee on March 9.  
  • Connecticut SB00319: This bill would require municipal arbitration to be resolved within six months of when the proceedings on the case began. 
    • Introduced by the Labor and Public Employees Committee.
    • Joint Labor and Public Employees Committee public hearing held March 8.  
  • Florida H1197: This bill would require certain public employees to sign an authorization form before joining a union acknowledging that union membership is not a condition for employment and that membership and dues are voluntary. It would require unions to allow certain public employees to end their membership by a written request. The bill would also prevent employers from deducting dues from certain employees’ paychecks. It would also amend requirements for bargaining agent recertification and union registration renewal. 
    • Republican sponsorship. 
    • Passed House as amended, referred to Senate Rules Committee March 4, not taken up in March 8 meeting. 
  • Indiana SB0297: This bill would amend the language of the authorization form school employees must sign before union dues may be deducted from their pay.
    • Republican sponsorship. 
    • Governor Eric Holcomb (R) signed March 7. 
  • Kansas SB511: This bill would establish that public employees may revoke authorization for employers to withhold union dues from their wages by submitting a written or emailed request to the employer, and employers must immediately cease withholding dues. The bill requires public employers to provide an annual written notification of rights and a request form to employees. The bill also requires public employees to annually renew their dues withholding authorization by signing a form with language stipulated by the bill. Employers must confirm the authorization by email before withholding dues. 
    • Sponsored by the Federal and State Affairs Committee.
    • Senate Commerce Committee hearing scheduled for March 15. 
  • Kentucky SB7:This bill would prohibit public employers from deducting union dues or fees from an employee’s pay without written authorization by way of an authorization-for-withholding form described in the bill. Employees would be able to revoke authorization at any time. The bill would also prevent public employers from assisting unions in collecting payments or personal information to be used to fund political activities.
    • Republican sponsorship. 
    • First reading, returned to Senate Economic Development, Tourism, & Labor Committee March 9. 
  • Kentucky SB362: This bill would remove current restrictions on public employee collective organizing and strikes. It would repeal requirements for dues deduction authorizations. It would prevent state law from prohibiting public employers and local governments from requiring union membership for employment. 
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • Referred to Senate Economic Development, Tourism, & Labor Committee March 7.
  • Louisiana HB663: This bill would allow public employees to resign from union membership and revoke dues deduction authorizations at any time. It would require employees to annually renew dues deduction authorizations by signing a form described in the bill. The public employer would be required to confirm the authorization by email.     
    • Republican sponsorship. 
    • Prefiled, provisionally referred to House Labor and Industrial Relations Committee March 4.
  • Maryland HB1225: This bill would extend collective bargaining rights to certain Harford County Public Library employees. It would prohibit employees from striking. 
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • House Appropriations Committee hearing held March 8. 
  • Minnesota HF2005: This bill would require public employers to provide certain personnel data to unions. It would require public employers to give unions access to employees, including through worksite meetings, new employee orientations, and email. It would require public employers to rely on information from unions about authorization and cancellation of deductions rather than requests from individual employees. It would also stipulate that unions are not liable for fees collected under state law before Janus v. AFSCME.
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • House State Government Finance and Elections Committee hearing held March 10. 
  • New Hampshire HB1041: This bill would extend the public employee labor relations act to cover nonpartisan employees of the New Hampshire legislature. 
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • House Legislative Administration Committee reported “Inexpedient to Legislate” on March 4. 
  • New Jersey S2229: This bill would establish the “New Jersey Right to Work Act.” It would prohibit employers from requiring union membership as a condition of employment. The bill would also prohibit public employers from withholding union dues or fees from employees’ wages. 
    • Republican sponsorship. 
    • Introduced, referred to Senate Labor Committee March 7. 
  • Oklahoma SB1579: This bill would allow school boards to grant unpaid leaves of absence for employees to hold office in an employee association if certain criteria are met. An employee organization would be required to comply with this law in order to be recognized as the representative of a bargaining unit.
    • Republican sponsorship. 
    • Senate passed March 7. First reading in the House March 8. 
  • Washington HB2124: This bill, which would give state legislative branch employees the right to bargain collectively, would create an office of state legislative labor relations to “[e]xamine issues related to collective bargaining for employees of the house of representatives, the senate, and legislative agencies” and to “develop best practices and options for the legislature to consider in implementing and administering collective bargaining.” A final report would be due to the legislature by October 1, 2023. No collective bargaining agreement could take effect until July 1, 2025. Employees would not be allowed to strike. 
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • Senate Ways & Means Committee reported “do pass with amendment” March 7. Held on third reading March 9.


SCOTUS won’t hear two public-sector union cases

Supreme Court says it won’t hear two cases related to public-sector union policy

The U.S. Supreme Court recently rejected petitions in two cases related to public-sector union policy. The last such case the court heard was Janus v. AFSCME in 2018. 

Woods v. ASEA

On Feb. 22, the Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal in Woods v. Alaska State Employees Association, AFSCME Local 52, a joint petition with the parallel case Creed v. Alaska State Employees Association, AFSCME Local 52. The plaintiffs said that because they had withdrawn consent for union dues deductions after the Janus ruling, the fact that the dues continued to be deducted based on an agreement signed before Janus violated their First Amendment rights. Attorneys from the Liberty Justice Center and the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation represented the petitioners.

Judge H. Russel Holland of the U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska dismissed both complaints. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit—Senior Judge Mary Schroeder, Senior Judge Atsushi Wallace Tashima, and Judge Andrew Hurwitz—upheld Holland’s decisions in both cases in August 2021. President Ronald Reagan (R) appointed Holland, President Jimmy Carter (D) appointed Schroeder, President Bill Clinton (D) appointed Tashima, and President Barack Obama (D) appointed Hurwitz. 

The plaintiffs’ petition to the Supreme Court, which was filed on Oct. 25, 2021, said:

“If Janus’ waiver requirement is not enforced, states and unions will continue to severely restrict when public employees can stop paying for union speech. The Court should not allow the fundamental speech rights it recognized in Janus to be hamstrung in this way. … 

Woods and Creed thus squarely present the question: which of two competing interpretations of Janus is correct? Does Janus require clear and compelling evidence of a waiver[?] … Or is Janus’ waiver language inapplicable to employees who sign dues deduction contracts[?] … 

“It is important that the Court make clear that it meant what it said in Janus: that states and unions cannot seize payments for union speech from employees unless they waive their right not to subsidize that speech. … Otherwise, a number of states and unions, with the blessing of three appellate courts, will continue to hamstring the First Amendment right the Court recognized in Janus.”

The petition was considered during the Supreme Court’s conference on Feb. 18. 

Hamidi v. SEIU

On Feb. 28, the Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal in Hamidi v. Service Employees International Union, Local 1000. The class action suit, filed in 2014, alleged the SEIU 1000’s opt-out system for collecting union fees violated plaintiffs’ First Amendment rights. Attorneys from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation represented the petitioners.

Judge William B. Shubb of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California ruled in favor of the defendant in 2017. In 2019, a Ninth Circuit panel overturned Shubb’s decision and sent the case back to the lower court for consideration in light of the Janus ruling. Shubb dismissed the suit in 2019. In 2021, a three-judge panel—Circuit Judges Bridget S. Bade and Patrick Bumatay, and U.S. District Judge for the District of Vermont William K. Sessions—upheld Shubb’s ruling, agreeing the union had acted in good faith under the law at the time. President George H.W. Bush (R) appointed Shubb, President Donald Trump (R) appointed Bade and Bumatay, and Clinton appointed Sessions.    

The plaintiffs’ petition was filed with the Supreme Court on Jan. 24, 2022. It said:

“This case is among many in which employees who had agency fees seized from them in violation of their First Amendment rights seek damages for their injuries. Nevertheless, a number of lower courts have now denied victims of unconstitutional agency fees seizures relief for their injuries on the grounds that there exists a general good faith defense to liability for Federal civil rights violations.

“This ‘good faith’ defense to Section 1983 has never been recognized by this Court. However, three times this Court has discussed, and declined to decide, whether such a defense exists. … The Court should finally resolve this important question to disabuse the lower courts of the rapidly spreading notion that a defendant acting under color of a statute before it is held unconstitutional and/or prior judicial decision overtaken by controlling authority is a defense to § 1983, contrary to its explicit creation of remedies for Federal civil rights violations.”

The petition was considered during the Supreme Court’s conference on Feb. 25. 

About the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court consists of nine justices who are nominated by the president and confirmed by the United States Senate. 

George H.W. Bush appointed Justice Clarence Thomas to the court, Clinton appointed Justice Stephen Breyer, and President George W. Bush (R) appointed Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito. Obama appointed Justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, and Trump appointed Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett. 

On Jan. 27, 2022, Justice Breyer officially announced he would retire at the start of the court’s summer recess. On Feb. 25, President Joe Biden (D) announced he would nominate Ketanji Brown Jackson, a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, to fil the vacancy

The Supreme Court’s yearly term begins on the first Monday in October and lasts until the first Monday in October the following year. The court receives around 7,000 to 8,000 petitions every year. During its past five terms, the court has agreed to hear an average of 71 cases per term. The court generally releases the majority of its decisions in mid-June.   

To subscribe to Robe & Gavel, Ballotpedia’s newsletter about the Supreme Court, click here

What we’re reading

The big picture

Number of relevant bills by state

We are currently tracking 123 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.

  • California SB1313: This bill would prohibit Los Angeles County from discriminating against union members by limiting employee health benefits.
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • Referred to Senate Labor, Public Employment, and Retirement Committee and Senate Judiciary Committee on March 2. 
  • Connecticut SB00209: This bill would recognize probate court employees as state employees for collective bargaining purposes. 
    • Introduced by the Senate Labor and Public Employees Committee.
    • Joint Labor and Public Employees Committee public hearing held March 3. 
  • Florida H1197: This bill would require certain public employees to sign an authorization form before joining a union acknowledging that union membership is not a condition for employment and that membership and dues are voluntary. It would require unions to allow certain public employees to end their membership by a written request. The bill would also prevent employers from deducting dues from certain employees’ paychecks. It would also amend requirements for bargaining agent recertification and union registration renewal. 
    • Republican sponsorship. 
    • Reported out of House State Affairs Committee, released to House Calendar, added to Second Reading Calendar and Special Order Calendar Feb. 28. 
  • Indiana SB0297: This bill would amend the language of the authorization form school employees must sign before union dues may be deducted from their pay.
    • Republican sponsorship. 
    • Senate President Pro Tempore and Speaker of the House signed March 1.
  • Kansas HB2354: This bill would establish that public employees may revoke authorization for employers to withhold union dues from their wages by submitting a written or emailed request to the employer, and employers must immediately cease withholding dues. The bill requires public employers to provide an annual written notification of rights and a request form to employees. The bill also requires public employees to annually renew their dues withholding authorization by signing a form with language stipulated by the bill. Employers must confirm the authorization by email before withholding dues. 
    • Sponsored by K-12 Education Budget Committee.
    • Withdrawn from House Appropriations Committee and sent back to House Commerce, Labor, and Economic Development Committee March 1. 
  • Maryland HB1225: This bill would extend collective bargaining rights to certain Harford County Public Library employees. It would prohibit employees from striking. 
    •  Democratic sponsorship.
    •  House Appropriations Committee hearing scheduled for March 8.
  • Minnesota HF603: This bill would require public employers to provide certain personnel data to unions. It would require public employers to give unions access to employees, including through worksite meetings, new employee orientations, and email. It would also stipulate that unions are not liable for fees collected under state law before Janus.
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • House Labor, Industry, Veterans and Military Affairs Finance and Policy Committee hearing held March 1. 
  • Minnesota HF2005: This bill would require public employers to provide certain personnel data to unions. It would require public employers to give unions access to employees, including through worksite meetings, new employee orientations, and email. It would require public employers to rely on information from unions about authorization and cancellation of deductions rather than requests from individual employees. It would also stipulate that unions are not liable for fees collected under state law before Janus.
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • House Labor, Industry, Veterans and Military Affairs Finance and Policy Committee hearing held March 1.
  • Oklahoma HB3955: This bill would allow sheriff’s department employees to bargain collectively with their county. Employees would not be allowed to strike. 
    • Republican sponsorship. 
    • House Judiciary – Civil Committee recommends “do pass” committee substitute March 1. 
  • Oklahoma SB1579: This bill would allow school boards to grant unpaid leaves of absence for employees to hold office in an employee association if certain criteria are met. An employee organization would be required to comply with this law in order to be recognized as the representative of a bargaining unit.     
    • Republican sponsorship. 
    • Senate Education Committee recommends “do pass” as amended March 1. 
  • Virginia HB790: This bill would prevent localities from entering collective bargaining agreements with law enforcement employee associations if the agreements do not meet certain criteria.
    • Republican sponsorship. 
    • Died in Senate Commerce and Labor Committee on Feb. 28. 
  • Washington HB2124: This bill, which would give state legislative branch employees the right to bargain collectively, would create an office of state legislative labor relations to “[e]xamine issues related to collective bargaining for employees of the house of representatives, the senate, and legislative agencies” and to “develop best practices and options for the legislature to consider in implementing and administering collective bargaining.” A final report would be due to the legislature by October 1, 2023. No collective bargaining agreement could take effect until July 1, 2025. Employees would not be allowed to strike. 
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • House Appropriations Committee reports “do pass” substitute bill on Feb. 28. Passed by House on March 1.


Washington Legislature considers collective bargaining for legislative staff

Washington Legislature considers collective bargaining for legislative staff

A new bill that would give state legislative staff the right to bargain collectively was introduced in the Washington House of Representatives after two similar bills missed the cutoff to be passed to the opposite chamber last week. Around 100 legislative staffers called in sick after the bills did not advance.

The first set of bills

Forty Democratic representatives sponsored House Bill 1806, which would have given state legislative branch employees the right to bargain collectively. Two committees passed versions of the bill: the House Labor & Workplace Standards Committee on Feb. 1 and the House Appropriations Committee on Feb. 7. 

The Senate companion to the House bill, SB 5773, passed the Senate Labor, Commerce & Tribal Affairs Committee on Jan. 27 and was referred to the Senate Ways & Means Committee on Jan. 28. Eighteen Democrats sponsored that bill. 

Feb. 15 was the last day a bill could be passed in its chamber of origin, a date the legislature agreed upon at the beginning of the session. According to The Hill’s Reid Wilson, the fact that the bills were not passed by that date “effectively [killed] their chances of passage this year.” 

According to Northwest News Network’s Austin Jenkins, “[S]cores of Democratic staffers in the Washington Legislature staged a ‘sick-out’ [on Feb. 16] … An estimated 80 to 100 or more Democratic staffers, including legislative assistants who work directly for state lawmakers, participated in the work stoppage.” 

According to Jenkins, “[Speaker of the House Laurie Jinkins (D) said] she was confident that with some additional revisions the bill could pass the Legislature next year.” 

The House bill’s lead sponsor, Rep. Marcus Riccelli (D), said, “I am committed to still bringing forward meaningful steps to address staff needs and concerns this session, and also set legislation up for success next year.” 

A similar bill was first introduced in 2011. According to The Spokesman-Review’s Laurel Demkovich, “[Riccelli said the proposal] has come up other times since, but has never made it out of Appropriations like it did this session.”

The new bill

On Feb. 23, a group of 45 Democratic representatives, again led by Riccelli, introduced House Bill 2124, which would allow legislative staffers to begin collective bargaining negotiations after May 1, 2024, for agreements taking effect after July 1, 2025. In the meantime, the bill would create an office of state legislative labor relations to “[e]xamine issues related to collective bargaining for employees of the house of representatives, the senate, and legislative agencies” and to “develop best practices and options for the legislature to consider in implementing and administering collective bargaining.” A final report would be due to the legislature by Oct. 1, 2023. Unlike HB 1806, this bill would not amend Revised Code of Washington Title 41. 

On Feb. 24, the House Appropriations Committee held a virtual public hearing that included a briefing on HB 2124 from committee staff and public testimony from five former legislative staffers, Matt Zuvich from the Washington Federation of State Employees, Maxford Nelsen from the Freedom Foundation, and Seamus Petrie from the Washington Public Employees Association. The discussion of this bill begins around the 18:30 mark.

Additional context

Democrats have a 29-20 majority in the state Senate and a 57-41 majority in the House, and have held trifecta control of Washington state government since 2017.  

We’re also tracking bills dealing with legislative staff collective bargaining in California, Illinois, Kentucky, Minnesota, and New Hampshire. To view a list of all the bills we’re tracking, click here

At least five states currently allow certain legislative staff to unionize. 

What we’re reading

The big picture

Number of relevant bills by state

We are currently tracking 117 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.

  • California AB2497: This bill would require state higher education employers to distribute union membership authorization forms to new employees during the orientation process and return completed forms to the exclusive representative.
    • Democratic sponsorship.
    • Introduced Feb. 17. May be heard in committee March 20. 
  • California AB2556: This bill would change the time frame for a local public agency employer to implement a final offer after a factfinders’ recommendation has been submitted in the case of a dispute between the employer and employee organization.
    • Democratic sponsorship.
    • Introduced Feb. 17. May be heard in committee March 20. 
  • California SB1313: This bill would prohibit Los Angeles County from discriminating against union members by limiting employee health benefits. 
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • Introduced, read first time, sent to Senate Rules Committee for assignment Feb. 18.
  • California SB1406: This bill would allow unions representing excluded state employees to request arbitration with the Department of Human Resources in certain circumstances.  
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • Introduced, read first time, sent to Senate Rules Committee for assignment Feb. 18.
  • Connecticut SB00209: This bill would recognize probate court employees as state employees for collective bargaining purposes. 
    • Introduced by Senate Labor and Public Employees Committee. 
    • Referred to Joint Labor and Public Employees Committee Feb. 24. Public hearing March 3.
  • Illinois HB4960: This bill would apply the definitions of “confidential employee,” “managerial employee,” and “supervisor” in the Illinois Public Labor Relations Act to all public employees. It would prevent any public employee position from being excluded from a bargaining unit before the position is filled.  
    • Democratic sponsorship.
    • Re-referred to House Rules Committee Feb. 18. 
  • Illinois HB5009: This bill would provide that terminations or more than 30-day suspensions of peace officers resulting from arbitration are subject to judicial review. It would set certain conditions of enforceability for written agreements about grievance procedures between law enforcement agencies and peace officer bargaining units. It would require the Illinois Labor Relations Board to adopt certain rules for law enforcement officers.
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • Re-referred to House Rules Committee Feb. 18. 
  • Indiana SB0297: This bill would amend the language of the authorization form school employees must sign before union dues may be deducted from their pay.
    • Republican sponsorship. 
    • House passed 58-31 on Feb. 23 and returned to the Senate without amendments on Feb. 24.  
  • Kansas HB2354: This bill would establish that public employees may revoke authorization for employers to withhold union dues from their wages by submitting a written or emailed request to the employer, and employers must immediately cease withholding dues. The bill requires public employers to provide an annual written notification of rights and a request form to employees. The bill also requires public employees to annually renew their dues withholding authorization by signing a form with language stipulated by the bill. Employers must confirm the authorization by email before withholding dues. 
    • Sponsored by the K-12 Education Budget Committee. 
    • Withdrawn from the House Commerce, Labor, and Economic Development Committee and referred to the House Appropriations Committee on Feb. 23. 
  • Kentucky HB537: This bill would establish the right of Kentucky’s executive, legislative, and judicial branch employees to bargain collectively through an exclusive representative. It would repeal a prohibition on public employee strikes.
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • Introduced, referred to House Committee on Committees Feb. 17. 
  • Maryland HB504: This bill would authorize school employees to strike.
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • Withdrawn by sponsor Feb. 21.
  • Maryland HB1432: This bill would repeal parts of the law that authorize or require unions to charge fees to nonmembers.
    • Republican sponsorship. 
    • First reading, referred to House Rules and Executive Nominations Committee Feb. 22. 
  • Michigan HB5806: This bill would amend the public employment relations law to remove school principals and assistant principals from the definition of “public school administrator” and repeal part of the law allowing public school administrators to not be considered public employees in certain circumstances.
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • Introduced, read first time, referred to House Education Committee Feb. 23.
  • Michigan HB5809: This bill would repeal a prohibition on public school employers using school resources to assist unions in collecting dues or fees. 
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • Introduced, read first time, referred to House Education Committee Feb. 23. 
  • Michigan HB5815: This bill would prohibit a public employer from ceasing or subcontracting its operations within the first year after employees certify a bargaining representative. 
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • Introduced, read first time, referred to House Workforce, Trades, And Talent Committee Feb. 23.
  • Michigan HB5826: This bill would prohibit employers, including public employers, from requiring employees to attend a meeting with the primary purpose of discouraging unionization and collective bargaining.
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • Introduced, read first time, referred to House Commerce and Tourism Committee Feb. 23.
  • Minnesota HF2005: This bill would require public employers to provide certain personnel data to unions. It would require public employers to give unions access to employees, including through worksite meetings, new employee orientations, and email. It would require public employers to rely on information from unions about authorization and cancellation of deductions rather than requests from individual employees. It would also stipulate that unions are not liable for fees collected under state law before Janus.
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • House Labor, Industry, Veterans and Military Affairs Finance and Policy Committee hearing scheduled for March 1.
  • Minnesota SF3241: This bill would prevent unions representing law enforcement officers from using pattern bargaining. 
    • Republican sponsorship. 
    • Senate State Government Finance and Policy and Elections Committee reports “to pass,” second reading on Feb. 24.
  • New Hampshire HB1472: This bill would prohibit employers from taking certain actions against employees involved in legal strikes or collective bargaining preceding a legal strike. It would also prohibit employers from “[engaging] in anti-union training of any kind.” 
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • House Labor, Industrial and Rehabilitative Services Committee executive session held Feb. 24.
  • Virginia HB336: This bill would require a 51% vote by public employees in a collective bargaining unit to certify a bargaining representative in localities that have authorized collective bargaining. 
    • Republican sponsorship. 
    • Passed by indefinitely in Senate Commerce and Labor Committee on Feb. 21.
  • Virginia HB337: This bill would prohibit collective bargaining agreements from having a public employer provide compensation or compensated leave time for union activities. It would require unions to compensate public employers if union activities infringe upon their time or resources. 
    • Republican sponsorship. 
    • Passed by indefinitely in Senate Commerce and Labor Committee on Feb. 21.
  • Virginia HB341: This bill would give public employees the right to resign from a union and stop paying dues at any time. It would require public employees to give written consent before employers may deduct union dues from their pay, and it would prescribe the wording of the authorization form. The bill would require annual reconfirmation of consent for union membership and dues deductions. The bill would also require employers to annually notify employees they have the right to resign from a union and provide an average of the dues they would pay.
    • Republican sponsorship. 
    • Passed by indefinitely in Senate Commerce and Labor Committee on Feb. 21.
  • Virginia HB883: This bill would repeal provisions allowing local governments to bargain collectively with their employees upon adopting an authorizing ordinance or resolution.
    • Republican sponsorship. 
    • Passed by indefinitely in Senate Commerce and Labor Committee on Feb. 21.
  • Washington HB2124: This bill, which would give state legislative branch employees the right to bargain collectively, would create an office of state legislative labor relations to “[e]xamine issues related to collective bargaining for employees of the house of representatives, the senate, and legislative agencies” and to “develop best practices and options for the legislature to consider in implementing and administering collective bargaining.” A final report would be due to the legislature by October 1, 2023. No collective bargaining agreement could take effect until July 1, 2025. Employees would not be allowed to strike. 
    • Democratic sponsorship.
    • House Appropriations Committee public hearing held Feb. 24.


Virginia House passes five public-sector union bills

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On Feb. 15, the Virginia House of Delegates passed five Republican-sponsored bills dealing with public-sector union policy. The bills are now in committee in the Senate, where Democrats hold a majority. 

About the bills

The Virginia House of Delegates passed the following five bills on Feb. 15: 

  • Virginia HB336: This bill would require a 51% vote by public employees in a collective bargaining unit to certify a bargaining representative in localities that have authorized collective bargaining. Del. Nicholas Freitas (R) sponsored the bill. The House passed committee substitute bill HB336H1 53-47. One delegate whose vote was recorded in favor of the bill intended to vote against it. 
  • Virginia HB337: This bill would prohibit collective bargaining agreements from having a public employer provide compensation or compensated leave time for union activities. It would require unions to compensate public employers if union activities infringe upon their time or resources. The House passed this bill, also sponsored by Freitas, 52-48. 
  • Virginia HB341: This bill, also sponsored by Freitas, would give public employees the right to resign from a union and stop paying dues at any time. It would require public employees to give written consent before employers may deduct union dues from their pay, and it would prescribe the wording of the authorization form. The bill would require annual reconfirmation of consent for union membership and dues deductions. The bill would also require employers to annually notify employees they have the right to resign from a union and provide an average of the dues they would pay. The House passed committee substitute bill HB341H1 52-48.
  • Virginia HB790: This bill would prevent localities from entering collective bargaining agreements with law enforcement employee associations if the agreements do not meet certain criteria. Dels. David LaRock (R), Freitas, Karen Greenhalgh (R), Wendell Walker (R), and Wren Williams (R) sponsored this bill. The House passed this bill 52-47.
  • Virginia HB883: This bill would repeal provisions allowing local governments to bargain collectively with their employees upon adopting an authorizing ordinance or resolution. Del. Kathy Byron (R) and 23 other Republicans sponsored this bill. The House passed committee substitute HB883H1 52-47.

All five bills were referred to the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee on Feb. 16.  

Political context

Republicans currently control the Virginia House of Delegates, and Democrats control the Senate.

Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) defeated former Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) in November, becoming the first Republican to win a statewide election in Virginia since 2009. Republicans secured a 52-48 majority in the House after the 2021 election, gaining control of the chamber. Democrats gained control of the state Senate in 2019, the last year elections were held for that chamber, and currently hold a 21-19 majority.

In a Jan. 21 news release, Youngkin included HB883 and SB374, its Senate version, on a list of his “Day One Game Plan” legislative agenda priorities. On Jan. 31, the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee voted 12-3 to kill SB374, which was sponsored by Sen. Mark Obenshain (R).

According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch’s Patrick Wilson, “Despite last year’s Republican wins statewide and for control of the House of Delegates, Democrats are using their 21-19 edge in the Senate to stop GOP legislation. … As of now, if Republicans want to get anything to the governor’s desk, it generally needs to get approval of Senate Democrats.” 

The Virginia General Assembly approved legislation in 2020, when Democrats had trifecta control of the state government, repealing Virginia’s prohibition of public-sector collective bargaining. The legislation allows local governments to bargain collectively with their employees upon adopting an authorizing ordinance or resolution. The final legislation was the product of a joint conference committee compromise between two competing bills: House Bill 582 and Senate Bill 939. Former Gov. Ralph Northam (D) signed the bills on April 22, 2020, and they went into effect on May 1, 2021.

What we’re reading

The big picture

Number of relevant bills by state

We are currently tracking 105 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.

  • California AB2261: This bill would shorten the time within which unions must make financial records available after the end of the fiscal year from 90 days to 60 days. 
    • Republican sponsorship. 
    • Introduced, read first time Feb. 16. May be heard in committee March 19.  
  • California SB931: This bill would allow a union to bring a claim before the Public Employment Relations Board against a public employer allegedly in violation of California Government Code Section 3550 and sets civil penalties for violations. Section 3550 prohibits public employers from discouraging union membership. 
    • Democratic sponsorship.
    • Referred to Senate Labor, Public Employment and Retirement Committee and Senate Judiciary Committee Feb. 16.  
  • Colorado SB109: This bill would prohibit public employees and unions from carrying out certain actions including strikes and work slowdowns. It would give public employers permission to seek a court injunction against such actions.
    • Republican sponsorship.
    • Senate State, Veterans, & Military Affairs Committee postponed indefinitely Feb. 15. 
  • Illinois HB4960: This bill would apply the definitions of “confidential employee,” “managerial employee,” and “supervisor” in the Illinois Public Labor Relations Act to all public employees. It would prevent any public employee position from being excluded from a bargaining unit before the position is filled.  
    • Democratic sponsorship.
    • House Labor & Commerce Committee hearing held Feb. 16.
  • Illinois HB5009: This bill would provide that terminations or more than 30-day suspensions of peace officers resulting from arbitration are subject to judicial review. It would set certain conditions of enforceability for written agreements about grievance procedures between law enforcement agencies and peace officer bargaining units. It would require the Illinois Labor Relations Board to adopt certain rules for law enforcement officers.
    • Democratic sponsorship.
    • House Police & Fire Committee hearing held Feb. 17.
  • Indiana SB0297: This bill would amend the language of the authorization form school employees must sign before union dues may be deducted from their pay.
    • Republican sponsorship.
    • House Employment, Labor and Pensions Committee reports “do pass” Feb. 17.
  • Iowa HF2404: This bill would include amending and reconsidering the composition of bargaining units, in addition to determining appropriate bargaining units, among the duties of the public employment relations board.
    • Democratic sponsorship.
    • Introduced and referred to House State Government Committee Feb. 16. 
  • Kansas SB511: This bill would establish that public employees may revoke authorization for employers to withhold union dues from their wages by submitting a written or emailed request to the employer, and employers must immediately cease withholding dues. The bill requires public employers to provide an annual written notification of rights and a request form to employees. The bill also requires public employees to annually renew their dues withholding authorization by signing a form with language stipulated by the bill. Employers must confirm the authorization by email before withholding dues. 
    • Sponsored by Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee.
    • Referred to Senate Commerce Committee Feb. 16.
  • 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.
    • Senate accepted Joint Labor and Housing Committee “ought not to pass” report, placed in legislative files Feb. 16.
  • Maryland HB458: This bill would require the involvement of a neutral arbitrator in the collective bargaining process for state employees. 
    • Democratic sponsorship.
    • House Appropriations Committee hearing Feb. 15.
  • Maryland HB504: This bill would authorize school employees to strike.
    • Democratic sponsorship.
    • House Ways and Means Committee hearing scheduled for Feb. 17 canceled.
  • Maryland HB751: This bill would extend collective bargaining rights to certain graduate students within the University System of Maryland, Morgan State University, and St. Mary’s College of Maryland.
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • House Appropriations Committee hearing Feb. 15.
  • Maryland HB1225: This bill would extend collective bargaining rights to certain Harford County Public Library employees. It would prohibit employees from striking. 
    • Democratic sponsorship.
    • House Appropriations Committee hearing scheduled for March 8.
  • Maryland SB472: This bill would require the involvement of a neutral arbitrator in the collective bargaining process for state employees. 
    • Democratic sponsorship.
    • Senate Budget and Taxation Committee hearing held Feb. 16.
  • Massachusetts S1245: This bill would amend the laws governing strikes by public-sector workers.
    • Bipartisan sponsorship.
    • On Feb. 17, the Joint Labor and Workforce Development Committee referred an order to the Joint Rules Committee authorizing the Labor and Workforce Development Committee to investigate and study certain Senate documents.
  • Minnesota SF3241: This bill would prevent unions representing law enforcement officers from using pattern bargaining. 
    • Republican sponsorship.
    • Introduced, read first time, and referred to the Senate State Government Finance and Policy and Elections Committee Feb. 17. 
  • New Hampshire HB1472: This bill would prohibit employers from taking certain actions against employees involved in legal strikes or collective bargaining preceding a legal strike. It would also prohibit employers from “[engaging] in anti-union training of any kind.” 
    • Democratic sponsorship.
    • House Labor, Industrial and Rehabilitative Services Committee executive session scheduled for Feb. 24.
  • Virginia HB336: This bill would require a 51% vote by public employees in a collective bargaining unit to certify a bargaining representative in localities that have authorized collective bargaining. 
    • Republican sponsorship.
    • Committee substitute HB336H1 passed House Feb. 15. Referred to Senate Commerce and Labor Committee Feb. 16. 
  • Virginia HB337: This bill would prohibit collective bargaining agreements from having a public employer provide compensation or compensated leave time for union activities. It would require unions to compensate public employers if union activities infringe upon their time or resources. 
    • Republican sponsorship.
    •  Passed House Feb. 15. Referred to Senate Commerce and Labor Committee Feb. 16.
  • Virginia HB341: This bill would give public employees the right to resign from a union and stop paying dues at any time. It would require public employees to give written consent before employers may deduct union dues from their pay, and it would prescribe the wording of the authorization form. The bill would require annual reconfirmation of consent for union membership and dues deductions. The bill would also require employers to annually notify employees they have the right to resign from a union and provide an average of the dues they would pay.
    • Republican sponsorship.
    • Committee substitute HB341H1 passed House Feb. 15. Referred to Senate Commerce and Labor Committee Feb. 16.
  • Virginia HB790: This bill would prevent localities from entering collective bargaining agreements with law enforcement employee associations if the agreements do not meet certain criteria.
    • Republican sponsorship.
    • Passed House Feb. 15. Referred to Senate Commerce and Labor Committee Feb. 16.
  • Virginia HB883: This bill would repeal provisions allowing local governments to bargain collectively with their employees upon adopting an authorizing ordinance or resolution.
    • Republican sponsorship.
    • Committee substitute HB883H1 passed House Feb. 15. Referred to Senate Commerce and Labor Committee Feb. 16.


Union Station: Ninth Circuit panel upholds California law prohibiting public employers from discouraging union membership or dues authorizations

On Feb. 7, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld a California law prohibiting public employers from discouraging union membership or dues deduction authorizations. 

About the ruling

On Feb. 21, 2020, seven plaintiffs—”elected members of various local California government bodies, including city councils, school boards, and community college and special purpose districts”—filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California challenging California Government Code Section 3550. The defendants were the members and general counsel of the California Public Employment Relations Board (PERB). 

The law in question states

“A public employer shall not deter or discourage public employees or applicants to be public employees from becoming or remaining members of an employee organization, or from authorizing representation by an employee organization, or from authorizing dues or fee deductions to an employee organization. This is declaratory of existing law.”

The plaintiffs said the law’s “threat of liability, coupled with a complete lack of guidance as to compliance” was “chilling the ability of elected officials … to speak freely about public employee unions and the implications of collective bargaining proposals coming before the city councils or boards on which they serve.” The plaintiffs alleged the law violated the First Amendment and asked the court to declare it unconstitutional.  

On Aug. 25, 2020, Judge Josephine Staton ruled in favor of the defendants and dismissed the case. President Barack Obama (D) nominated Staton to the court in 2010. 

The plaintiffs appealed to the Ninth Circuit in October 2020. Oral arguments were held on Oct. 21, 2021. In a unanimous ruling on Feb. 7, a three-judge panel—Judges Consuelo M. Callahan, John B. Owens, and Danielle J. Forrest—affirmed Staton’s decision. According to the court’s summary: 

“The panel determined that section 3550 does not regulate Plaintiffs’ individual speech, and any restrictions the statute does impose on Plaintiffs’ ability to speak on behalf of their employers did not injure Plaintiffs’ constitutionally protected individual interests. The panel held that Plaintiffs had not shown that they had a well-founded fear that PERB would impute statements made by Plaintiffs in their individual capacities to Plaintiffs’ public employers, particularly in light of concessions made by PERB in this litigation. The panel concluded that Plaintiffs had failed to demonstrate that they have suffered an injury in fact sufficient to establish their standing to pursue their pre-enforcement challenge.”

President George W. Bush (R) nominated Callahan to the court, Obama nominated Owens, and President Donald Trump (R) nominated Forrest.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle’s Bob Egelko, “A lawyer for the local officials said the ruling was disappointing but not a total defeat.” Center for Individual Rights president Terence Pell said, “The good news is that the court clarified elected officials can criticize union policies at public hearings, on the campaign trail and in discussions with constituents. … The bad news is that elected officials can be subject to state investigation any time a union wants to file a complaint.”

The case name and number are Jeffrey Barke, et al. v. Eric Banks, et al. (20-56075).

About Section 3550

Section 3550 was enacted in 2017 and amended in 2018. The 2017 version of the law said, “A public employer shall not deter or discourage public employees from becoming or remaining members of an employee organization.” 

Senate Bill No. 866 was a budget trailer bill introduced in January 2018. Among its provisions was an amendment to Section 3550 prohibiting public employers from discouraging employees from authorizing union representation or from authorizing union dues or fee deductions. Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed Senate Bill 866 into law on June 27, 2018, the same day as the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Janus v. AFSCME.

What we’re reading

The big picture

Number of relevant bills by state

We are currently tracking 100 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.

  • California SB931: This bill would allow a union to bring a claim before the Public Employment Relations Board against a public employer allegedly in violation of California Government Code Section 3550 and would set civil penalties for violations. Section 3550 prohibits public employers from discouraging union membership. 
    • Democratic sponsorship.
    • Introduced Feb. 7, Senate voted to suspend Joint Rule 55.
  • Colorado SB109: This bill would prohibit public employees and unions from carrying out certain actions including strikes and work slowdowns. It would give public employers permission to seek a court injunction against such actions.
    • Republican sponsorship. 
    • Senate State, Veterans, & Military Affairs Committee hearing scheduled for Feb. 15.
  • Florida H1197: This bill would require certain public employees to sign an authorization form before joining a union acknowledging that union membership is not a condition for employment and that membership and dues are voluntary. It would require unions to allow certain public employees to end their membership by a written request. The bill would also prevent employers from deducting dues from certain employees’ paychecks. It would also amend requirements for bargaining agent recertification and union registration renewal. 
    • Republican sponsorship.
    • Reported out of House State Administration & Technology Appropriations Subcommittee Feb. 8, now in House State Affairs Committee.  
  • Illinois HB4960: This bill would apply the definitions of “confidential employee,” “managerial employee,” and “supervisor” in the Illinois Public Labor Relations Act to all public employees. It would prevent any public employee position from being excluded from a bargaining unit before the position is filled.  
    • Democratic sponsorship.
    • Assigned to House Labor & Commerce Committee Feb. 9, hearing scheduled for Feb. 16. 
  • Illinois HB5009: This bill would provide that terminations or more than 30-day suspensions of peace officers resulting from arbitration are subject to judicial review. It would set certain conditions of enforceability for written agreements about grievance procedures between law enforcement agencies and peace officer bargaining units. It would require the Illinois Labor Relations Board to adopt certain rules for law enforcement officers.
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • Assigned to House Police & Fire Committee Feb. 9, hearing scheduled for Feb. 17.
  • Indiana SB0297: This bill would amend the language of the authorization form school employees must sign before union dues may be deducted from their pay.
    • Republican sponsorship. 
    • First reading, referred to House Employment, Labor and Pensions Committee on Feb. 8.
  • Maryland HB458: This bill would require the involvement of a neutral arbitrator in the collective bargaining process for state employees. 
    • Democratic sponsorship.
    • House Appropriations Committee hearing scheduled for Feb. 15.
  • Maryland HB751: This bill would extend collective bargaining rights to certain graduate students within the University System of Maryland, Morgan State University, and St. Mary’s College of Maryland.
    • Democratic sponsorship.
    • House Appropriations Committee hearing scheduled for Feb. 15.
  • Maryland SB472: This bill would require the involvement of a neutral arbitrator in the collective bargaining process for state employees. 
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • Senate Budget and Taxation Committee hearing scheduled for Feb. 16.
  • Oklahoma SB1380: This bill would require school employees to sign an annual authorization form before school districts may deduct union dues or political contributions from employee paychecks. The bill would prescribe the wording of the authorization form. It would also require school districts to confirm authorizations by email before deducting dues. 
    • Republican sponsorship. 
    • First reading Feb. 7, second reading referred to Senate Education Committee Feb. 8. 
  • Oklahoma SB1404: This bill would require that school employee unions submit to secret-ballot elections in order to continue as collective bargaining agents. A majority of employees must vote in favor in order for the employee union to continue to represent the unit. 
    • Republican sponsorship. 
    • First reading Feb. 7, second reading referred to Senate Education Committee Feb. 8.
  • Oklahoma SB1579: This bill would allow school boards to grant unpaid leaves of absence for employees to hold office in an employee association if certain criteria are met. An employee organization would be required to comply with this law in order to be recognized as the representative of a bargaining unit.     
    • Republican sponsorship.
    • First reading Feb. 7, second reading referred to Senate Education Committee Feb. 8.
  • Rhode Island S2244: This bill would establish a method of dispute arbitration for municipal employees, who are not allowed to strike. It would allow arbitration decisions to be petitioned to the Rhode Island Supreme Court.  
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • Introduced, referred to Senate Labor Committee on Feb. 8.
  • Virginia HB336: This bill would require a 51% vote by public employees in a collective bargaining unit to certify a bargaining representative in localities that have authorized collective bargaining. 
    • Republican sponsorship.
    • Subcommittee #1 recommends reporting with substitute on Feb. 8. House Commerce and Energy Committee reported with substitute Feb. 10. Committee substitute printed.   
  • Virginia HB337: This bill would prohibit collective bargaining agreements from having a public employer provide compensation or compensated leave time for union activities. It would require unions to compensate public employers if union activities infringe upon their time or resources.  
    • Republican sponsorship. 
    • Subcommittee #1 recommends reporting on Feb. 8. Reported from House Commerce and Energy Committee Feb. 10. 
  • Virginia HB341: This bill would give public employees the right to resign from a union and stop paying dues at any time. It would require public employees to give written consent before employers may deduct union dues from their pay, and it would prescribe the wording of the authorization form. The bill would require annual reconfirmation of consent for union membership and dues deductions. The bill would also require employers to annually notify employees they have the right to resign from a union and provide an average of the dues they would pay.
    • Republican sponsorship. 
    • Subcommittee #1 recommends reporting with substitute on Feb. 8. House Commerce and Energy Committee reported with substitute Feb. 10. Committee substitute printed.   
  • Virginia HB790: This bill would prevent localities from entering collective bargaining agreements with law enforcement employee associations if the agreements do not meet certain criteria.
    • Republican sponsorship.
    • Subcommittee #1 recommends reporting on Feb. 8. Reported from House Commerce and Energy Committee Feb. 10. 
  • Virginia HB883: This bill would repeal provisions allowing local governments to bargain collectively with their employees upon adopting an authorizing ordinance or resolution.
    • Republican sponsorship.
    • Subcommittee #1 recommends reporting with substitute on Feb. 8. House Commerce and Energy Committee reported with substitute Feb. 10. Committee substitute printed.   
  • Washington HB1764: This bill would stipulate new requirements for collective bargaining negotiations and arbitration between the University of Washington School of Medicine and residents and fellows who have the right to bargain collectively.
    • Democratic sponsorship.  
    • House Appropriations Committee voted do pass second substitute bill Feb. 4. Referred to Rules 2 Review Feb. 7.
  • Washington HB1806: This bill would give state legislative branch employees the right to bargain collectively. 
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • House Appropriations Committee voted do pass second substitute bill Feb. 4. Referred to Rules 2 Review Feb. 7. 

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D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals overturns two FLRA rulings

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Two three-judge panels of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit recently issued rulings affecting federal employee collective bargaining. 

Jan. 28 ruling on midterm bargaining

On Jan. 28, a three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the Federal Labor Relations Authority’s (FLRA) 2020 decision that federal employers were not obligated by federal labor law to bargain during the term of a collective bargaining contract. The FLRA is the federal agency that administers federal labor relations.

According to Reuters’ Daniel Wiessner, the D.C. Circuit’s ruling means that “Federal-sector unions … have the right to demand that agencies bargain with them in the middle of a contract term.” 

The FLRA decision said that “all proposals concerning midterm‑bargaining obligations (including zipper clauses) are mandatory subjects for negotiation that may be bargained to impasse.” A zipper clause limits negotiations during the term of a bargaining agreement. The FLRA’s two Republican members wrote the decision, and the Democratic chairman dissented.

According to Government Executive’s Erich Wagner, the decision went against precedent and “hampered federal employee unions’ ability to negotiate over issues that come up over the course of a collective bargaining agreement.”

The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) filed a petition challenging the FLRA decision on Sept. 30, 2020. The AFGE lawsuit was consolidated with petitions that the National Treasury Employees Union and American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees filed in October.

On Jan. 28, Chief Judge Sri Srinivasan and Circuit Judges Patricia Millett and Cornelia Pillard overturned the FLRA’s decision. Writing for the court, Pillard said: “We begin where the Authority did, with its holding that the Statute does not require midterm bargaining. We vacate that holding as arbitrary and capricious. We then consider the Agency’s ultimate holding that zipper clauses are mandatory bargaining subjects. Because the Authority treated its first, invalid holding as the ‘necessary’ predicate to its second, we must vacate the latter as well.” President Barack Obama (D) nominated all three judges to the court.

The case name and number are American Federation of Government Employees v. FLRA (20-1398).

Feb. 1 ruling on duty to bargain

D.C. Circuit Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, a potential nominee to replace retiring Justice Stephen Breyer on the U.S. Supreme Court, issued her first opinion since being confirmed to the D.C. Circuit in June 2021. 

In this case, the same three unions noted above sued the FLRA over its decision on “the standard…for deciding whether a management-initiated change triggers an agency’s duty to bargain under the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute.” The petitions were again consolidated.

According to Wagner, the FLRA decision “[raised] the threshold of a change in working conditions that [would require] agency management to negotiate with its unions,” going from a “greater than de minimis” standard to a “substantial impact” standard. Once again, the decision was along party lines.

On Feb. 1, another three-judge panel—Circuit Judges David Tatel, Jackson, and Pillard—overturned the FLRA decision. Jackson wrote: “The cursory policy statement that the FLRA issued to justify its choice to abandon thirty-five years of precedent promoting and applying the de minimis standard and to adopt the previously rejected substantial-impact test is arbitrary and capricious for the reasons explained above. Consequently, the unions’ petitions for review are granted and the FLRA’s September 30, 2020 general statement of policy is vacated.” President Bill Clinton (D) nominated Tatel to the court, and President Joe Biden (D) nominated Jackson.

The case name and number are American Federation of Government Employees v. FLRA (20-1396).

Additional context 

The three-member FLRA administers the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute, which permits certain federal government employees to unionize and bargain collectively. The FLRA website outlines its responsibilities as follows:

  1. Resolving complaints of unfair labor practices.
  2. Determining the appropriateness of units for labor organization representation.
  3. Adjudicating exceptions to arbitrators’ awards.  
  4. Adjudicating legal issues relating to the duty to bargain.
  5. Resolving impasses during negotiations.

The president nominates FLRA members to serve five-year terms, unless they are filling the remainer of an unexpired term. Nominees must be confirmed by the Senate. FLRA members can continue to serve after their terms expire until either a successor is appointed or until the end of the next congressional session. No more than two of the three members may belong to the same political party.   

The current members of the FLRA are: 

  • Chairman Ernest DuBester (D): Obama first nominated DuBester to the agency in 2009. Obama re-nominated DuBester in 2013, and President Donald Trump (R) nominated him to a third term in 2017. In January 2021, Biden designated DuBester as FLRA chairman, a position he also held in 2013 and 2017. In July 2021, Biden re-nominated DuBester for a term that would end in 2024. This nomination has not been confirmed. 
  • James T. Abbott (R): Trump nominated Abbot in 2017. His term expired in July 2020. In August 2021, Biden nominated Susan Tsui Grundmann (D) to replace Abbott. This nomination has not been confirmed.
  • Colleen Duffy Kiko (R): Trump nominated Kiko to the FLRA in 2017. Kiko’s term expires in July 2022.  

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit hears appeals from the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. There are 11 active judges on the D.C. Circuit. Of those judges, President George H.W. Bush (R) nominated one, Clinton nominated two, Obama nominated four, Trump nominated three, and Biden nominated one.

What we’re reading

The big picture

Number of relevant bills by state

We are currently tracking 91 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.

  • Arizona SB1553: This bill would enact the Public Employee Bargaining Act, an omnibus public-sector labor bill.
    • Democratic sponsorship.
    • Senate read second time Feb. 1. 
  • California AB314: This bill would grant employees of the state legislature the right to form, join, and participate in unions.
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • Died Feb. 1. 
  • California AB1484: This bill would prohibit a public school employer from deducting the amount of a fair share service fee or alternative fee from a public school employee’s pay without the employee’s written permission. The authorization would only be valid for the calendar year in which it was given, unless terminated.
    • Republican sponsorship. 
    • Died Jan. 31.
  • California AB1714: This bill would allow unions representing excluded state employees to request arbitration with the Department of Human Resources in certain circumstances.  
    • Democratic sponsorship.
    • Referred to Assembly Public Employment and Retirement Committee and Assembly Judiciary Committee on Feb. 3.  
  • Colorado SB109: This bill would prohibit public employees and unions from carrying out certain actions including strikes and work slowdowns. It would give public employers permission to seek a court injunction against such actions.
    • Republican sponsorship. 
    • Introduced, referred to Senate State, Veterans, & Military Affairs Committee on Feb. 1.
  • Indiana SB0297: This bill would amend the language of the authorization form school employees must sign before union dues may be deducted from their pay.
    • Republican sponsorship.
    • Passed Senate 37-12 on Feb. 1, referred to House on Feb. 2.
  • Maryland HB504: This bill would authorize school employees to strike.
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • House Ways and Means Committee hearing scheduled for Feb. 17.
  • Minnesota HF2729: This bill would give legislative employees the right to elect exclusive representatives for collective bargaining.
    • Democratic sponsorship.
    • Introduced, read first time, and referred to the House Labor, Industry, Veterans and Military Affairs Finance and Policy Committee Jan. 31.
  • New Hampshire HB1472: This bill would prohibit employers from taking certain actions against employees involved in legal strikes or collective bargaining preceding a legal strike. It would also prohibit employers from “[engaging] in anti-union training of any kind.” 
    • Democratic sponsorship.
    • Public hearing in the House Labor, Industrial and Rehabilitative Services Committee held Feb. 3.
  • Rhode Island H7198: This bill would establish a method of dispute arbitration for municipal employees, who are not allowed to strike. 
    • Democratic sponsorship.
    • House Labor Committee hearing held Feb. 2, committee recommended further study. 
  • Virginia HB336: This bill would require a 51% vote by public employees in a collective bargaining unit to certify a bargaining representative in localities that have authorized collective bargaining. 
    • Republican sponsorship. 
    • Subcommittee #1 hearing held Feb. 1.
  • Virginia HB337: This bill would prohibit collective bargaining agreements from having a public employer provide compensation or compensated leave time for union activities. It would require unions to compensate public employers if union activities infringe upon their time or resources. 
    • Republican sponsorship.
    • Subcommittee #1 hearing held Feb. 1.
  • Virginia HB341: This bill would give public employees the right to resign from a union and stop paying dues at any time. It would require public employees to give written consent before employers may deduct union dues from their pay, and it would prescribe the wording of the authorization form. The bill would require annual reconfirmation of consent for union membership and dues deductions.The bill would also require employers to annually notify employees they have the right to resign from a union and provide an average of the dues they would pay.
    • Republican sponsorship.
    • Subcommittee #1 hearing held Feb. 1. 
  • Virginia HB790: This bill would prevent localities from entering collective bargaining agreements with law enforcement employee associations if the agreements do not meet certain criteria.
    • Republican sponsorship.
    • Subcommittee #1 hearing held Feb. 1. 
  • Virginia HB883: This bill would repeal provisions allowing local governments to bargain collectively with their employees upon adopting an authorizing ordinance or resolution.
    • Republican sponsorship.
    • Subcommittee #1 hearing held Feb. 1. 
  • Virginia SB374: This bill would repeal provisions allowing local governments to bargain collectively with their employees upon adopting an authorizing ordinance or resolution.
    • Republican sponsorship.
    • Passed by indefinitely in Senate Commerce and Labor Committee on Jan. 31.
  • Virginia SB721: This bill would give public employees the right to resign from a union and stop paying dues at any time. It would require public employees to give written consent before employers may deduct union dues from their pay, and it would prescribe the wording of the authorization form. The bill would require annual reconfirmation of consent for union membership and dues deductions.The bill would also require employers to annually notify employees they have the right to resign from a union and provide an average of the dues they would pay.
    • Republican sponsorship.
    • Passed by indefinitely in Senate Commerce and Labor Committee on Jan. 31.
  • Washington HB1764: This bill would stipulate new requirements for collective bargaining negotiations and arbitration between the University of Washington School of Medicine and residents and fellows who have the right to bargain collectively.
    • Democratic sponsorship.
    • House Appropriations Committee hearing held Feb. 3.
  • Washington HB1806: This bill would give state legislative branch employees the right to bargain collectively. 
    • Democratic sponsorship.
    • House Appropriations Committee hearing Feb. 4.


Conflict in Colorado over potential bill to expand public-sector collective bargaining

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Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) said he won’t support the current version of a public-sector collective bargaining bill Democratic leaders are drafting. 

The conflict 

The not-yet-introduced bill, which Colorado Politics’s Marianne Goodland described as “the brainchild of [House Majority Leader Daneya Esgar (D) and Senate Majority Leader Steve Fenberg (D)],” would expand public-sector collective bargaining in Colorado, including to local government employees. According to Goodland, a similar bill drafted in 2021 drew opposition from local governments and was not introduced. 

Sixteen local governments in Colorado currently allow collective bargaining. 

Polis spokesman Conor Cahil said, “The Governor has made clear to the bill sponsors and advocates that he will not support the bill in its current form. … The door is open to a much narrower legislation to expand collective bargaining.” Cahil also said Polis would be “proud to sign legislation that provides the state workforce collective bargaining while striking a balance between collective bargaining and elected representation.” 

According to The Denver Post’s Alex Burness: “Polis has on multiple recent occasions declined to say much more on the topic. He told The Denver Post last week he wouldn’t ‘negotiate in the press,’ and reiterated that at a news conference Tuesday. … ‘‘We are in talks, trying to bring together local government and workers’ representatives around a solution that will work for Colorado,’ he said.”

In response, Esgar said: “We will continue to really engage with conversations with the stakeholders that will provide public employees with the rights they need. We are hearing the concerns of the governor and stakeholders, but we’re also hearing from the workers that we have to get this passed.” Esgar said, “We’re still in the process of going through the bill step-by-step with [Polis] and his office … We’ve had multiple meetings and we have multiple meetings to go.”

Fenberg said: “Thoughtful and productive conversations with the governor and with local government leaders across Colorado are ongoing, and we will continue working together with them to find a way forward and ensure all Colorado’s working families get the pay, benefits, and safe working conditions they deserve.”

Support for the bill

Colorado AFL-CIO Executive Director Dennis Dougherty said: “This is the unfinished business of making sure all Coloradans have the freedom to join a union. … The forthcoming bill could grant more than 250,000 more public workers the right to collective bargaining. … You can have near-unanimous support for a union, go to a board and they can say, ‘We’re not interested.’ … This should be a fundamental right.”

CWA Local 7799 Vice President Alex Wolf-Root said: “The AFL-CIO and the Colorado Education Association have come together in a coalition for this bill. So, we have labor behind this bill, from municipal workers in the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) to firefighters to K-12, us in health care and higher ed. We also have a strong coalition of community partners. … [W]e have a strong chance, and the real fight is going to be making sure we have a strong bill, not simply a bill. Legislators might want to pass something and get a pat on the back, but water it down to appease those who are opposing it. That will harm us, so it’s going to be a fight.”

Opposition to the bill

Kevin Bommer of the Colorado Municipal League said, “‘It has little to do with whether or not there should be collective bargaining. … Employment matters at the local level should be a matter of home rule and local control.” The Colorado Sun’s Thy Vo wrote, “The [Colorado Municipal League] argues the soon-to-be measure would infringe on the constitutional right of cities that operate under ‘home rule’ charters, which is nearly 100 Colorado cities and towns. The home-rule status gives the municipalities the right to self-govern in policy issues of ‘local concern.’”

Vo reported that the issue advocacy organization Advance Colorado Action will launch a six-figure ad campaign opposing the bill and state Democrats, and that the affiliated Advance Colorado Institute said it will file a lawsuit if the bill becomes law.

Colorado Sen. Larry Liston (R) said, “The people are not asking for this. I don’t hear it at all from my constituents.’”

Political context

Polis was elected in 2018 to succeed term-limited Gov. John Hickenlooper (D). In the 2018 elections, Democrats gained trifecta and triplex control of the state government. Democrats currently have a 20-15 majority in the Senate, and a 40-24 majority in the House of Representatives, where there is one vacancy. 

What we’re reading

The big picture

Number of relevant bills by state

We are currently tracking 86 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.

  • Arizona SB1420: This bill would repeal the state’s right-to-work statute. For the bill to go into effect, voters would have to amend the Arizona Constitution at the next election, repealing Article XXV. 
    • Democratic sponsorship.
    • First read, assigned to Senate Commerce and Rules Committees Jan. 26. Second read Jan. 27.
  • California AB1714: This bill would allow unions representing excluded state employees to request arbitration with the Department of Human Resources in certain circumstances.  
    • Democratic sponsorship.
    • Read first time Jan. 26.
  • Florida H1197: This bill would require certain public employees to sign an authorization form before joining a union acknowledging that union membership is not a condition for employment and that membership and dues are voluntary. It would require unions to allow certain public employees to end their membership by a written request. The bill would also prevent employers from deducting dues from certain employees’ paychecks. It would also amend requirements for bargaining agent recertification and union registration renewal. 
    • Republican sponsorship. 
    • Reported out of Government Operations Subcommittee Jan. 27, now in State Administration & Technology Appropriations Subcommittee
  • Illinois HB4960: This bill would apply the definitions of “confidential employee,” “managerial employee,” and “supervisor” in the Illinois Public Labor Relations Act to all public employees. It would prevent any public employee position from being excluded from a bargaining unit before the position is filled.  
    • Democratic sponsorship.
    • First reading, referred to House Rules Committee Jan. 27.
  • Illinois HB5009: This bill would provide that terminations or more than 30-day suspensions of peace officers resulting from arbitration are subject to judicial review. It would set certain conditions of enforceability for written agreements about grievance procedures between law enforcement agencies and peace officer bargaining units. It would require the Illinois Labor Relations Board to adopt certain rules for law enforcement officers.
    • Democratic sponsorship.
    • First reading, referred to House Rules Committee Jan. 27.
  • 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.
    • Labor and Housing Committee reported “ought not to pass” Jan. 27.  
  • Maryland HB458: This bill would require the involvement of a neutral arbitrator in the collective bargaining process for state employees. 
    • Democratic sponsorship.
    • House Appropriations Committee hearing scheduled for Feb. 15.
  • Maryland HB504: This bill would authorize school employees to strike.
    • Democratic sponsorship.
    • First reading, referred to House Ways and Means Committee Jan. 21.
  • Maryland SB118: This bill would extend collective bargaining rights to certain graduate students within the University System of Maryland, Morgan State University, and St. Mary’s College of Maryland.
    • Democratic sponsorship.
    • Senate Finance Committee hearing held Jan. 27.
  • Maryland SB472: This bill would require the involvement of a neutral arbitrator in the collective bargaining process for state employees. 
    • Democratic sponsorship.
    • First reading, referred to Senate Budget and Taxation and Finance Committees Jan. 27. Senate Budget and Taxation Committee hearing scheduled for Feb. 16.
  • Missouri SB880: This bill would bar employers from requiring employees to become, remain, or refrain from becoming members of a union as a condition of employment.
    • Republican sponsorship.
    • Second read, referred to Senate Small Business and Industry Committee Jan. 27.
  • New Hampshire HB1472: This bill would prohibit employers from taking certain actions against employees involved in legal strikes or collective bargaining preceding a legal strike. It would also prohibit employers from “[engaging] in anti-union training of any kind.”
    • Democratic sponsorship.
    • Public hearing scheduled in the House Labor, Industrial and Rehabilitative Services Committee on Feb. 3.
  • Oklahoma SB1380: This bill would require school employees to sign an annual authorization form before school districts may deduct union dues or political contributions from employee paychecks. The bill would prescribe the wording of the authorization form. It would also require school districts to confirm authorizations by email before deducting dues. 
    • Republican sponsorship.
    • Referred to Senate Education Committee for second reading on Feb. 8. 
  • Oklahoma SB1404: This bill would require that school employee unions submit to secret-ballot elections in order to continue as collective bargaining agents. A majority of employees must vote in favor in order for the employee union to continue to represent the unit. 
    • Republican sponsorship.
    • Referred to Senate Education Committee for second reading on Feb. 8. 
  • Oklahoma SB1579: This bill would allow school boards to grant unpaid leaves of absence for employees to hold office in an employee association if certain criteria are met. An employee organization would be required to comply with this law in order to be recognized as the representative of a bargaining unit.     
    • Republican sponsorship. 
    • Referred to Senate Education Committee for second reading on Feb. 8. 
  • Pennsylvania HB844: This bill would ban public employee social security numbers and personal contact information as subjects of collective bargaining. 
    • Republican sponsorship. 
    • Laid on the table during House Labor and Industry Committee hearing on Jan. 25.
  • Pennsylvania HB845: This bill would require any proposed public employee collective bargaining agreement to be published on the public employer’s website at least 14 days before the agreement is accepted. It would also make documents from the collective bargaining process into public records subject to the state’s right-to-know law.
    • Republican sponsorship.
    • Laid on the table during House Labor and Industry Committee hearing on Jan. 25.
  • Pennsylvania HB2042: This bill would require public employers to provide non-union members with an annual notification that they are not required to make payments to a union and to provide new and returning employees with a notification that they do not have to join a union.
    • Republican sponsorship.
    • Laid on the table during House Labor and Industry Committee hearing on Jan. 25.
  • Pennsylvania HB2048: This bill would prohibit collective bargaining agreements from authorizing the deduction of political contributions from public employee wages.
    • Republican sponsorship.
    • Laid on the table during House Labor and Industry Committee hearing on Jan. 25.
  • Rhode Island H7198: This bill would establish a method of dispute arbitration for municipal employees, who are not allowed to strike. 
    • Democratic sponsorship.
    • Introduced and referred to House Labor Committee on Jan. 26. 
  • Vermont H0621: This bill would allow certification of collective bargaining representatives through majority employee sign-up and voluntary employer recognition.
    • Democratic sponsorship.
    • House General, Housing, and Military Affairs Committee hearing held Jan. 25.
  • Virginia HB335: This bill would allow public employees to bargain independently. It would prevent collective bargaining agreements from applying to non-member employees.
    • Republican sponsorship.
    • Bill stricken from docket during the House Commerce and Energy Committee hearing on Jan. 25.  
  • Virginia HB336: This bill would require a 51% vote by public employees in a collective bargaining unit to certify a bargaining representative in localities that have authorized collective bargaining. 
    • Republican sponsorship.
    • Assigned to subcommittee #1 on Jan. 25.
  • Virginia HB337: This bill would prohibit collective bargaining agreements from having a public employer provide compensation or compensated leave time for union activities. It would require unions to compensate public employers if union activities infringe upon their time or resources. 
    • Republican sponsorship.
    • Assigned to subcommittee #1 on Jan. 25.
  • Virginia HB341: This bill would give public employees the right to resign from a union and stop paying dues at any time. It would require public employees to give written consent before employers may deduct union dues from their pay, and it would prescribe the wording of the authorization form. The bill would require annual reconfirmation of consent for union membership and dues deductions.The bill would also require employers to annually notify employees that that they have the right to resign from a union and provide an average of the dues they would pay.
    • Republican sponsorship.
    • Assigned to subcommittee #1 on Jan. 25.
  • Virginia HB790: This bill would prevent localities from entering collective bargaining agreements with law enforcement employee associations if the agreements do not meet certain criteria.
    • Republican sponsorship.
    • Assigned to subcommittee #1 on Jan. 25.
  • Virginia HB883: This bill would repeal provisions allowing local governments to bargain collectively with their employees upon adopting an authorizing ordinance or resolution.
    • Republican sponsorship.
    • Assigned to subcommittee #1 on Jan. 25.
  • Virginia SB374: This bill would repeal provisions allowing local governments to bargain collectively with their employees upon adopting an authorizing ordinance or resolution.
    • Republican sponsorship.
    • Senate Commerce and Labor Committee hearing held Jan. 24. 
  • Washington HB1764: This bill would stipulate new requirements for collective bargaining negotiations and arbitration between the University of Washington School of Medicine and resident and fellows who have the right to bargain collectively.
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • Executive session in the House Labor & Workplace Standards Committee held Jan. 26, voted “do pass substitute.”
  • Washington HB1771: This bill would allow family child care providers to bargain collectively over defined contribution retirement benefits.
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • Reported out of House Labor & Workplace Standards Committee Jan. 21. Referred to House Appropriations Committee Jan. 25.
  • Washington HB1806: This bill would give state legislative branch employees the right to bargain collectively. 
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • Public hearing in the House Labor & Workplace Standards Committee held Jan. 25. Executive session in the House Labor & Workplace Standards Committee scheduled for Feb. 1. 
  • Washington SB5579: This bill would give Washington Management Service personnel the right to bargain collectively.
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • Public hearing in the Senate Labor, Commerce & Tribal Affairs Committee held Jan. 24, executive session held Jan. 27.
  • Washington SB5773: This bill would give state legislative branch employees the right to bargain collectively. 
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • Public hearing in the Senate Labor, Commerce & Tribal Affairs Committee held Jan. 24, executive session held Jan. 27.


CUNY professors challenge exclusive representation under New York’s Taylor Law

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Six City University of New York (CUNY) professors filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on Jan. 12 challenging the constitutionality of a state law allowing a union to become the exclusive representative for all public-sector employees within a mandatory bargaining unit. The professors, five of whom are Jewish, accuse the Professional Staff Congress (PSC) of anti-Semitism and allege that the union cannot represent them fairly.  

About the lawsuit

The plaintiffs are CUNY professors Avraham Goldstein, Michael Goldstein, Frimette Kass-Shraibman, Mitchell Langbert, Jeffrey Lax, and Maria Pagano. The Fairness Center and the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation represent the plaintiffs.  

The defendants are the Professional Staff Congress (PSC), the City University of New York (CUNY), the chairman and members of the New York Public Employee Relations Board in their official capacities, the city of New York, and the New York State Comptroller.

According to their complaint, the plaintiffs “strongly object to being exclusively represented by PSC … [and] object to being forced to associate with PSC in any manner, to having PSC speak for them in any manner, and to providing support to PSC in any form.” The plaintiffs allege that being required to be included in a bargaining unit represented by PSC violates their first Amendment rights. 

In June 2021, PSC adopted a “Resolution in Support of the Palestinian People,” which the plaintiffs consider to be “anti-Semitic, anti-Jewish, and anti-Israel.” According to the plaintiffs’ lawyers, “In the months since the Resolution, PSC members have held chapter-level discussions … [that] encourage support for the anti-Semitic and anti-Israel [Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions] movement among rank-and-file members of PSC … The Jewish Plaintiffs believe the Resolution, and related conduct by PSC, sets them and their co-religionists apart and singles them out for disparate treatment, opprobrium, and hostility, based solely upon their religious, ethnic, and moral beliefs and identity, including their support for Israel, the nation-state of the Jewish people.”

The plaintiffs ask the court to declare that “the certification and recognition of PSC as Plaintiffs’ exclusive representative … violate Plaintiffs’ First Amendment rights of free speech and free association and are unconstitutional,” and to declare that “Section 204 of the Taylor Law is unconstitutional under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution to the extent that it requires or authorizes PSC to be Plaintiffs’ exclusive representative and compels Plaintiffs to associate with other employees in the bargaining unit for purposes of speech and expressive activities.”

About the Taylor Law

New York’s Public Employees’ Fair Employment Act, known as the Taylor Law, governs public-sector labor relations in the state. The New York State Public Employment Relations Board administers the act, which can be found in Article 14 of the New York Civil Service Law. Regarding exclusive representation, the law says: 

“Where an employee organization has been certified or recognized … it shall be the exclusive representative … of all the employees in the appropriate negotiating unit, and the appropriate public employer shall be, and hereby is, required to negotiate collectively with such employee organization in the determination of, and administration of grievances arising under, the terms and conditions of employment of the public employees … and to negotiate and enter into written agreements with such employee organizations in determining such terms and conditions of employment.” 

Perspectives 

PSC representative Fran Clark said:

“This meritless lawsuit, brought by faculty who are not members of our union and funded by the notoriously right-wing National Right to Work Legal Foundation, is just another attempt to erode the power of organized labor to fight for better pay and working conditions and a more just society. PSC members—and non-member free-riders such as the plaintiffs—have good health insurance, benefits, due-process rights, contractual raises and salary steps because of the union’s contract negotiations. The ‘Right to Work’ agenda is rooted in white supremacy; it will find little purchase at CUNY, the nation’s largest, most diverse urban university system.” 

Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation, said

“It is no surprise that PSC union officials have immediately resorted to ad hominem attacks and baseless name-calling as opposed to defending their coercive monopoly ‘representation’ powers, which have historically been used to discriminate against or otherwise harm rank-and-file workers. Such baseless accusations are page 1 of Big Labor’s playbook when their coercive forced unionism power is exposed by the very workers they claim to represent. No American worker should be forced under the representation of a union they oppose, and it’s high time that federal courts protect this basic aspect of workers’ freedom of association.”

The case name and number are Goldstein et al. v. Professional Staff Congress/CUNY et al. (1:22-cv-00321).

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York has 24 active judges and four vacancies. Of the active judges on the court, Democratic presidents nominated 17—Bill Clinton nominated two, and Barack Obama nominated 15—and Republican presidents nominated seven—George W. Bush nominated three, and Donald Trump nominated four. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has appellate jurisdiction over this court.

Bureau of Labor Statistics releases annual union membership estimates

On Jan. 20, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released its annual estimates of union membership in the United States. The full press release and data can be found here.

  • The BLS estimates that 33.9% of public-sector workers nationwide were union members in 2021, roughly five and a half times the membership rate in the private sector (6.1%). In 2020, public-sector union membership was estimated at 34.8%, and in 2019, it was 33.6%.
  • An estimated 40.2% of local government workers were union members in 2021, down from 41.7% in 2020.
  • An estimated 29.6% of state workers were union members in 2021, down from 29.9% in 2020.
  • An estimated 24.9% of federal workers were union members in 2021, down from 26.0% in 2020.

What we’re reading

The big picture

Number of relevant bills by state

We are currently tracking 75 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 SB201: This bill would apply the Delaware Public Employment Relations Act to employers with 10 or more full-time employees, rather than 100 or more full-time employees.
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • Senate Labor Committee hearing held Jan. 19. 
  • Florida S1458: This bill would require certain public employees to sign an authorization form before joining a union acknowledging that union membership is not a condition for employment and that membership and dues are voluntary. It would require unions to allow certain public employees to end their membership by a written request. The bill would also prevent employers from deducting dues from certain employees’ paychecks. It would also amend requirements for bargaining agent recertification and union registration renewal. 
    • Republican sponsorship. 
    • Introduced Jan. 18. 
  • 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. 
    • Joint Standing Committee on Labor and Housing held a public hearing and work session on Jan. 19. Divided report anticipated. 
  • Maryland SB118: This bill would extend collective bargaining rights to certain graduate students within the University System of Maryland, Morgan State University, and St. Mary’s College of Maryland.
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • Senate Finance Committee hearing scheduled for Jan. 27.
  • New Hampshire HB1041: This bill would extend the public employee labor relations act to cover nonpartisan employees of the New Hampshire Legislature. 
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • House Legislative Administration Committee public hearing held Jan. 19.   
  • Oklahoma SB1380: This bill would require school employees to sign an annual authorization form before school districts may deduct union dues or political contributions from employee paychecks. The bill would prescribe the wording of the authorization form. It would also require school districts to confirm authorizations by email before deducting dues. 
    • Republican sponsorship.
    • Introduced Jan. 19, first reading scheduled for Feb. 7. 
  • Oklahoma SB1404: This bill would require that school employee unions submit to secret-ballot elections in order to continue on as collective bargaining agents. A majority of employees must vote in favor in order for the employee union to continue to represent the unit. 
    • Republican sponsorship.
    • Introduced Jan. 19, first reading scheduled for Feb. 7.
  • Virginia SB264: This bill would allow state and local government employees, other than exempted employees, to organize and bargain collectively, and it would create a Public Employee Relations Board. It would require public employers and employee organizations to negotiate in good faith.
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • Stricken at request of patron in Senate Commerce and Labor Committee on Jan. 17.
  • Washington HB1771: This bill would allow family child care providers to bargain collectively over defined contribution retirement benefits.
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • Executive session in the House Labor & Workplace Standards Committee held Jan. 21.


2022 rundown: Public-sector labor legislation in the states

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We’re off to the races in 2022! Thirty-two state legislatures are currently in session. Today, we’re taking a look at bills related to public-sector labor policy that have been introduced so far this year. 

Overview

We’re currently tracking 71 pieces of legislation related to public-sector labor policy in the states. Twenty-four of those bills have been introduced this year, and the rest were carried over from 2021. Since 2019, we’ve tracked an average of 107 bills per year.   

Of the bills introduced so far this year, Democrats and Republicans have each sponsored 12. Seven of the Republican-sponsored bills were introduced in Republican trifecta states, and five of the Democratic-sponsored bills were introduced in a Democratic trifecta state. Nine bills were introduced in states with divided government, and three Democratic-sponsored bills were introduced in states with Republican trifectas. 

Bill details

The following bills have been introduced in 2022:

  • Florida H1197 and S1458: These bills would require certain public employees to sign an authorization form before joining a union acknowledging that union membership is not a condition for employment and that membership and dues are voluntary. The bills would require unions to allow certain public employees to end their membership by a written request. The bills would also prevent employers from deducting dues from certain employees’ paychecks. Both proposals would also amend requirements for bargaining agent recertification and union registration renewal. Republican sponsorship.  
  • Kentucky HB111: This bill would remove current restrictions on public employee collective organizing and strikes. It would repeal requirements for dues deduction authorizations. It would prevent state law from prohibiting public employers and local governments from requiring union membership for employment. Democratic sponsorship.
  • Maryland SB118: This bill would extend collective bargaining rights to certain graduate students within the University System of Maryland, Morgan State University, and St. Mary’s College of Maryland. Democratic sponsorship
  • Missouri HB2121 and SB728: These bills would establish the “Public Employee Janus Rights Act.” They would require public employees to give written, informed consent before union dues or fees may be withheld from their paychecks. Employees must also give written, informed consent for unions to use fees or dues for political purposes. Republican sponsorship.
  • Missouri HB2122 and SB880: These bills would bar employers from requiring employees to become, remain, or refrain from becoming members of a union as a condition of employment. Republican sponsorship.
  • Missouri SB706: This bill would bar employers from requiring employees to join or not join a union as a condition of employment in counties that adopt the provisions of the bill. Republican sponsorship.
  • New Hampshire HB1041: This bill would extend the public employee labor relations act to cover nonpartisan employees of the New Hampshire legislature. Democratic sponsorship.
  • New Hampshire HB1472: This bill would prohibit employers from taking certain actions against employees involved in legal strikes or collective bargaining preceding a legal strike. It would also prohibit employers from “[engaging] in anti-union training of any kind.” Democratic sponsorship.   
  • Vermont H0621: This bill would allow certification of collective bargaining representatives through majority employee sign-up and voluntary employer recognition. Democratic sponsorship.  
  • Virginia HB335: This bill would allow public employees to bargain independently. It would prevent collective bargaining agreements from applying to non-member employees. Republican sponsorship.  
  • Virginia HB336: This bill would require a 51% vote of public employees in a collective bargaining unit to certify a bargaining representative in localities that have authorized collective bargaining. Republican sponsorship.
  • Virginia HB337: This bill would prohibit collective bargaining agreements from having a public employer provide compensation or compensated leave time for union activities. It would require unions to compensate public employers if union activities infringe upon their time or resources. Republican sponsorship.
  • Virginia HB341: This bill would require public employees to give consent before employers may deduct union dues from their pay, and it would allow employees to stop paying dues at any time. It would require annual reconfirmation of consent for union membership and dues deductions. Republican sponsorship.
  • Virginia HB790: This bill would prevent localities from entering collective bargaining agreements with law enforcement employee associations if the agreements do not meet certain criteria. Republican sponsorship.
  • Virginia SB264: This bill would allow state and local government employees, other than exempted employees, to organize and bargain collectively, and it would create a Public Employee Relations Board. It would require public employers and employee organizations to negotiate in good faith. Democratic sponsorship.
  • Washington HB1764: This bill would stipulate new requirements for collective bargaining negotiations and arbitration between the University of Washington School of Medicine and residents and fellows who have the right to bargain collectively. Democratic sponsorship
  • Washington HB1771: This bill would allow family child care providers to bargain collectively over defined contribution retirement benefits. Democratic sponsorship. 
  • Washington HB1806 and SB5773: These bills would give state legislative branch employees the right to bargain collectively. Democratic sponsorship.  
  • Washington SB5579: This bill would give Washington Management Service personnel the right to bargain collectively. Democratic sponsorship
  • West Virginia HB3124: This bill would outline rights and procedures for public employee collective bargaining. Democratic sponsorship

As always, an overview of the current legislation we’re tracking and a list of legislative actions from the past week are included at the end of this newsletter.

To view spreadsheets with information about all of the public-sector labor bills we’ve tracked since 2018, click here

What we’re reading

The big picture

Number of relevant bills by state

We are currently tracking 71 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 SB201: This bill would apply the Delaware Public Employment Relations Act to employers of 10 or more full-time employees, rather than 100 or more full-time employees.
    • Democratic sponsorship.
    • Senate Labor Committee hearing scheduled for Jan. 19. 
  • Florida H1197: This bill would require certain public employees to sign an authorization form before joining a union acknowledging that union membership is not a condition for employment and that membership and dues are voluntary. It would require unions to allow certain public employees to end their membership by a written request. The bill would also prevent employers from deducting dues from certain employees’ paychecks. It would also amend requirements for bargaining agent recertification and union registration renewal. 
    • Republican sponsorship.
    • Referred to House State Affairs Committee (Government Operations Subcommittee), first reading Jan. 11. 
  • Florida S1458: This bill would require certain public employees to sign an authorization form before joining a union acknowledging that union membership is not a condition for employment and that membership and dues are voluntary. It would require unions to allow certain public employees to end their membership by a written request. The bill would also prevent employers from deducting dues from certain employees’ paychecks. It would also amend requirements for bargaining agent recertification and union registration renewal.
    •  Republican sponsorship.
    • Referred to Senate Judiciary, Governmental Oversight and Accountability, and Appropriations Committees Jan. 12. 
  • 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.
    • Hearing scheduled for Jan. 19. 
  • Maryland SB118: This bill would extend collective bargaining rights to certain graduate students within the University System of Maryland, Morgan State University, and St. Mary’s College of Maryland.
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • Senate Finance Committee hearing scheduled for Jan. 27.
  • Missouri SB706: This bill would bar employers from requiring employees to join or not join a union as a condition of employment in counties that adopt the provisions of the bill.
    • Republican sponsorship.
    • Second read, referred to Senate Small Business and Industry Committee on Jan. 10.
  • Missouri SB728: This bill would establish the “Public Employee Janus Rights Act.” It would require public employees to give written, informed consent before union dues or fees may be withheld from their paychecks. Employees must also give written, informed consent for unions to use fees or dues for political purposes. 
    • Republican sponsorship.
    • Second read, referred to Senate General Laws Committee on Jan. 13.
  • New Hampshire HB1041: This bill would extend the public employee labor relations act to cover nonpartisan employees of the New Hampshire legislature. 
    • Democratic sponsorship.
    • House Legislative Administration Committee hearing scheduled for Jan. 19.
  • New Jersey A5862: This bill would expand the terms and conditions negotiable between government employers and public-sector unions to those that “intimately and directly affect employee work and welfare,” with certain exceptions. It would also allow a public-sector union to charge a non-dues-paying employee for the cost of representation in arbitration proceedings, and to decline to represent those who do not agree to pay.
    • Democratic sponsorship.
    • Substituted by S3810 on Jan. 10.
  • New Jersey S3810: This bill would expand the terms and conditions negotiable between government employers and public-sector unions to those that “intimately and directly affect employee work and welfare,” with certain exceptions. It would also allow a public-sector union to charge a non-dues-paying employee for the cost of representation in arbitration proceedings, and to decline to represent those who do not agree to pay.
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • Substituted for A5862, passed both chambers Jan. 10.
  • Vermont H0621: This bill would allow certification of collective bargaining representatives through majority employee sign-up and voluntary employer recognition.
    • Democratic sponsorship.   
    • Read first time, referred to House General, Housing, and Military Affairs Committee on Jan. 13.
  • Virginia HB335: This bill would allow public employees to bargain independently. It would prevent collective bargaining agreements from applying to non-member employees.
    • Republican sponsorship.
    • Introduced Jan. 11, committee referral pending.
  • Virginia HB336: This bill would require a 51% vote of public employees in a collective bargaining unit to certify a bargaining representative in localities that have authorized collective bargaining. 
    • Republican sponsorship.
    • Introduced Jan. 11, committee referral pending.
  • Virginia HB337: This bill would prohibit collective bargaining agreements from having a public employer provide compensation or compensated leave time for union activities. It would require unions to compensate public employers if union activities infringe upon their time or resources. 
    • Republican sponsorship.
    • Introduced Jan. 11, committee referral pending.
  • Virginia HB341: This bill would require public employees to give consent before employers may deduct union dues from their pay, and it would allow employees to stop paying dues at any time. It would require annual reconfirmation of consent for union membership and dues deductions.
    • Republican sponsorship.
    • Introduced Jan. 11, committee referral pending.
  • Virginia HB790: This bill would prevent localities from entering collective bargaining agreements with law enforcement employee associations if the agreements do not meet certain criteria.
    • Republican sponsorship.
    • Introduced Jan. 11, committee referral pending.
  • Virginia SB264: This bill would allow state and local government employees, other than exempted employees, to organize and bargain collectively, and it would create a Public Employee Relations Board. It would require public employers and employee organizations to negotiate in good faith.
    • Democratic sponsorship.
    • Referred to Senate Commerce and Labor Committee Jan. 11.
  • Washington HB1764: This bill would stipulate new requirements for collective bargaining negotiations and arbitration between the University of Washington School of Medicine and residents and fellows who have the right to bargain collectively.
    • Democratic sponsorship.
    • Public hearing in the House Labor & Workplace Standards Committee held Jan. 14.
  • Washington HB1771: This bill would allow family child care providers to bargain collectively over defined contribution retirement benefits.
    • Democratic sponsorship.
    • Public hearing in the House Labor & Workplace Standards Committee held Jan. 14.
  • Washington HB1806: This bill would give state legislative branch employees the right to bargain collectively. 
    • Democratic sponsorship.
    •  First reading, referred to House Labor & Workplace Standards Committee Jan. 10.
  • Washington SB5579: This bill would give Washington Management Service personnel the right to bargain collectively.   
    • Democratic sponsorship.
    • First reading, referred to Senate Labor, Commerce & Tribal Affairs Committee Jan. 10.
  • Washington SB5773: This bill would give state legislative branch employees the right to bargain collectively. 
    • Democratic sponsorship.
    • First reading, referred to Senate Labor, Commerce & Tribal Affairs Committee Jan. 11.
  • West Virginia HB3124: This bill would outline rights and procedures for public employee collective bargaining. 
    • Democratic sponsorship.
    • Referred to House Government Organization Committee Jan. 12.


2021 recap: Public-sector labor legislation in the states

Happy New Year! Today we’ll look back at what happened to public-sector labor bills during the 2021 legislative year. Next week, we’ll give you a rundown of bills filed in 2022.

Highlights

  • State legislatures either introduced or carried over from earlier sessions 112 bills related to public-sector labor policy in 2021.
  • Fifteen relevant bills were enacted. 
  • Democrats and Republicans sponsored a similar number of bills, with Republicans sponsoring 51 and Democrats sponsoring 50. The rest either had nonpartisan legislative backing, were bipartisan, or were committee bills.  

Overview

The following map shows which states considered public-sector labor legislation in 2021, with darker colors representing a higher number of bills.

Legislators in Maryland introduced the most public-sector labor bills in 2021—10—followed by Pennsylvania with nine and Oregon and Connecticut tied with seven. 

This chart shows the legislative status of each bill at the end of 2021:

Enacted legislation

The following 15 bills were enacted in 2021:

  • Arkansas SB341: This bill prohibits collective bargaining on the part of certain public-sector employees. Read our coverage of the bill’s passage here
    • Republican sponsorship.
    • Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) signed on April 8, 2021.       
  • Connecticut SB00908: This bill requires public employers to furnish unions with personal information of employees belonging to the bargaining unit. It also requires employers to grant unions access to new employee orientations.
    • Originally introduced by the General Assembly’s Labor and Public Employees Committee. 
    • Gov. Ned Lamont (D) signed on June 4, 2021. 
  • Delaware HB237: This bill grants select law enforcement officers the right of organization under the Police Officers’ and Firefighters’ Employment Relations Act.
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • Gov. John Carney (D) signed on Sept. 10, 2021. 
  • 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. 
    • Gov. J. B. Pritzker (D) signed on Aug. 27, 2021.
  • Illinois SJRCA0011: A legislatively referred constitutional amendment that would guarantee employees the right to organize and bargain collectively through representatives they choose. Read more about this amendment here and here.
    • Bipartisan sponsorship. 
    • The Illinois House and Senate adopted this joint resolution in May 2021.
  • Indiana SB0251: This bill establishes that a school employee can leave a union at any time. It also requires employees to annually authorize any payroll deductions of union dues. Read more about this bill here and its aftermath here
    • Republican sponsorship. 
    • Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) signed on April 22, 2021.  
  • Maine LD52: This bill allows educational policies related to preparation and planning time and transfer of teachers to be subjects of collective bargaining negotiations.
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • Gov. Janet Mills (D) signed on June 8, 2021.
  • Maryland SB138: This bill extends collective bargaining rights to employees of the Baltimore County Public Library. 
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • Enacted May 30, 2021.
  • Maryland SB556: This bill establishes a separate collective bargaining unit for teachers at the Maryland School for the Deaf.
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • Enacted May 30, 2021.
  • Oklahoma HB2747: This bill eliminates the Public Employees Relations Board. It directs municipal public employers to recognize unions as the exclusive bargaining agents for police officers or firefighters upon a majority vote of the members of the bargaining unit. 
    • Republican sponsorship. 
    • Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) signed on May 5, 2021. 
  • Oregon SB580: This bill amends the law’s definition of “employment relations” to include class size and caseload limits as mandatory collective bargaining subjects for school districts. 
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • Gov. Kate Brown (D) signed on July 14, 2021. 
  • Tennessee SJR0002: A legislatively referred constitutional amendment that would bar any person, corporation, or governmental entity from denying employment due to an individual’s affiliation status with a union or other employee organization. Read more about this amendment here
    • Republican sponsorship. 
    • The speakers of the Senate and House signed the joint resolution in May 2021. 
  • Washington SB5133: This bill amends the definition of a “confidential employee” for the purposes of collective bargaining. 
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • Gov. Jay Inslee (D) signed on May 3, 2021. 
  • West Virginia HB2009: This bill prohibits state, county, and municipal governments from deducting public union dues from paychecks. Read more here, here, and here.
    • Republican sponsorship.
    • Gov. Jim Justice (R) signed on March 30, 2021. 
  • West Virginia SB11: This bill prohibits public-sector employees from striking. Read more about this bill here.
    • Republican sponsorship. 
    • Enacted on March 16, 2021. 

Compared to years past

This chart shows the number of public-sector labor bills Ballotpedia tracked each year from 2019 to 2021 and the number of those bills that were enacted each year: 

This chart shows a breakdown of the partisan affiliation of bill sponsors by year. The percentage of bills sponsored by Republicans increased in 2021.

To view spreadsheets with information about all of the public-sector labor bills we’ve tracked since 2018, click here

What we’re reading

The big picture

Number of relevant bills by state

We are currently tracking 59 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.

  • Florida H1197: This bill would require certain public employees to sign an authorization form before joining a union acknowledging that union membership is not a condition for employment and membership and dues are voluntary. It would require unions to allow certain public employees to end their membership by a written request. The bill would also prevent employers from deducting dues from certain employees’ paychecks. It would also amend requirements for bargaining agent recertification and union registration renewal. 
    • Republican sponsorship. 
    • Filed Jan. 5.
  • Florida S1458: This bill would require certain public employees to sign an authorization form before joining a union acknowledging that union membership is not a condition for employment and membership and dues are voluntary. It would require unions to allow certain public employees to end their membership by a written request. The bill would also prevent employers from deducting dues from certain employees’ paychecks. It would also amend requirements for bargaining agent recertification and union registration renewal. 
    • Republican sponsorship. 
    • Filed Jan. 4. 
  • Kentucky HB111: This bill would remove current restrictions on public employee collective organizing and strikes. It would repeal requirements for dues deduction authorizations. It would prevent state law from prohibiting public employers and local governments from requiring union membership for employment. 
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • Introduced Jan. 4. 
  • 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. 
    • Hearing scheduled for Jan. 19. 
  • Maryland SB118: This bill would extend collective bargaining rights to certain graduate students within the University System of Maryland, Morgan State University, and St. Mary’s College of Maryland.
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • Senate Finance Committee first reading scheduled for Jan. 12. 
  • Missouri HB2121: This bill would establish the “Public Employee Janus Rights Act.” It would require public employees to give written, informed consent before union dues or fees may be withheld from their paychecks. Employees must also give written, informed consent for unions to use fees or dues for political purposes. 
    • Republican sponsorship. 
    • Read second time Jan. 6.
  • Missouri HB2122: This bill would bar employers from requiring employees to become, remain, or refrain from becoming members of a union as a condition of employment. 
    • Republican sponsorship. 
    • Read second time Jan. 6.
  • Missouri SB706: This bill would bar employers from requiring employees to become or refrain from becoming members of a union as a condition of employment in counties that adopt the provisions of the section.
    • Republican sponsorship. 
    • First read Jan. 5. 
  • Missouri SB728: This bill would establish the “Public Employee Janus Rights Act.” It would require public employees to give written, informed consent before union dues or fees may be withheld from their paychecks. Employees must also give written, informed consent for unions to use fees or dues for political purposes. 
    •  Republican sponsorship. 
    • First read Jan. 5. 
  • Missouri SB880: This bill would bar employers from requiring employees to become, remain, or refrain from becoming members of a union as a condition of employment.
    • Republican sponsorship. 
    • First read Jan. 5. 
  • Nebraska LB684: This bill would prohibit public school employers and unions from placing restrictions on when employees can join or leave unions.
    • Carried over Jan. 5.
  • New Jersey A5862: This bill would expand the terms and conditions negotiable between government employers and public-sector unions to those that “intimately and directly affect employee work and welfare,” with certain exceptions. It would also allow a public-sector union to charge a non-dues-paying employee for the cost of representation in arbitration proceedings, and to decline to represent those who does not agree to pay.
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • Assembly Appropriations Committee hearing Jan. 6. 
  • New Jersey S3810: This bill would expand the terms and conditions negotiable between government employers and public-sector unions to those that “intimately and directly affect employee work and welfare,” with certain exceptions. It would also allow a public-sector union to charge a non-dues-paying employee for the cost of representation in arbitration proceedings, and to decline to represent those who does not agree to pay.
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • Senate Budget and Appropriations hearing Jan. 6.