House Democrats Pushing Back on Janus
The Daily Caller recently published an analysis by the Mackinac Center’s Vinnie Vernuccio and Morgan Shields regarding the latest threat to worker rights at the federal level: The Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act. In their op-ed, Vernuccio and Shields contend:
In direct push back to the U.S. Supreme Court protecting the First Amendment rights of teachers, police officers, firefighters and other state and local public employees, Democrats in Congress have introduced a bill that tramples on federalism and overrules laws passed by state legislators across the country.
Last year’s historic Janus v. AFSCME Supreme Court case ruled public employees can choose to support the union at their workplace or not – public employees have First Amendment rights that cannot be checked at the door. Despite the Court’s decisive ruling, a press release regarding the introduced legislation from the Democrats on the House Education and Labor Committee reads: “This legislation would also require public employers to recognize their employees’ union and to commit to any agreements in a written contract. Additionally, H.R. 3463 gives the federal government the authority to intervene on behalf of public-service workers should states fail to meet these standards.”
A “one size fits all” approach to collective bargaining for public employees is not in the best interest of our nation’s hardworking civil servants. As Vernuccio and Shields write:
Each state is different — geographically, demographically, budgetarily — and one policy for all 50 states doesn’t often work. Each state’s population has different needs and desires. Citizens of California and North Dakota do not want or need all the same policies. This is certainly true when it comes to public sector labor.
Each state faces unique issues with its public sector workforce. Some states like Indiana, North Carolina, Texas and Virginia, do not even collectively bargain with public employees. States like Wisconsin, Michigan, and many others limit what public employees can bargain over. Some states mandate recertification elections at specified time frames or when certain events occur.
If passed, the bill would explicitly ban worker voting rights laws like those in Missouri, Florida, Iowa, and Wisconsin which give public employees the right to regularly vote on whether they want to recertify their union. The bill also makes it unnecessarily difficult for public employees to go through a petition process to remove their union.
Public workers deserve a voice. The Supreme Court agrees. But this legislation takes that voice away and is a critical threat to worker rights across the nation.