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Second State Takes Action to Protect Public Employee Choice

Midland, MIWorkers for Opportunity, an organization focused on advancing the liberty of employees across the country, today praised Missouri Gov. Mike Parson and the Office of Administration for its decision to no longer withhold union dues for several unions, citing the lack of existing of labor agreements and constitutional violations of public employees’ rights.

“This letter issued under Gov. Parson’s leadership correctly shows that some union contract provisions in Missouri violate the First Amendment rights of public employees,” said Vincent Vernuccio, a labor policy senior fellow with Workers for Opportunity. “The Supreme Court, in Janus v. AFSCME, found that public employees have a right to have their paycheck protected, and public employers must have the necessary evidence before collecting dues and giving the money to unions. We have already seen similar action in Alaska to ensure the Janus decision is properly implemented in support of worker rights, and encourage more states to take action to ensure there is proof of affirmative consent before union dues are collected.”

The decision was released in a recent letter from the Office of Administration, which is responsible for administering payroll deductions, as unions and the state continue negotiations. The action applies to the expired contracts of the Missouri Correction Officers Association, the Missouri Chapters of the Service Employees International Union, and the Communications Workers of America. Union members can continue making payment through electronic payment systems, which WFO supports if there is constitutional consent, because it is consistent with workers making their own choices.

“Gov. Mike Parson and team are to be congratulated for their executive decision,” said Missouri-based WFO advisor Ryan Johnson. “For those of us in Missouri who have been working on these issues, this is a big step toward ensuring our state is in compliance with the Janus v. AFSCME decision. It is important that dues authorizations are being constitutionally collected. Gov. Parson and his Office of Administration saw that and took decisive action on behalf of Missouri’s public employees.”

The letter state the Office of Administration will not collect union dues “unless and until there are existing labor agreements and dues authorizations are constitutionally collected.” One letter notes that expired SEIU contracts “if still in effect, would be found unconstitutional” because they fail to meet the standard set forth in Janus. Specifically, the agreement did not inform public employees about their rights, and the state would not have the required evidence to deduct dues.



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