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Workers for Opportunity Praises Alaska AG for Protecting Public Sector Workers First Amendment Rights

In Janus v. AFSCME the Supreme Court did not simply require government agencies to stop collecting agency dues. The Court also said that “employees must choose to support the union before anything is taken from them.”

Janus (and other Supreme Court precedent on waiving a constitutional right) mandates that waiving a Constitutional right cannot be presumed. There must be clear and compelling evidence that an employee has freely and knowingly waived their First Amendment rights before affirmative consent to waive a constitutional right is valid.

Yesterday, Alaska Attorney General Kevin Clarkson issued an opinion that paves the way for full implementation of Janus in Alaska and will lead to the protection of the First Amendment rights of Alaskan public sector workers.

The opinion points out the flaws in Alaska’s payroll deduction system and encourages the state to implement a new system to ensure employee’s consent before deducting union dues, as required by Janus. It also calls on the state to ensure that it has the clear and compelling evidence required by Janus.

The Supreme Court ruled that employees have a First Amendment right to a choice when it comes to paying union dues. The action taken by Attorney General Clarkson will have a real and lasting impact on individual employee rights and their paychecks. Alaska is emerging as a leader in fully complying with the decision and eliminating barriers that limit employees’ abilities to exercise their rights. Other states—including Michigan—need to follow Alaska’s lead bring their payroll systems and union dues deduction policies and processes are in compliance with Janus.


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