Latest Reactionary Jive on Janus

Illinois state worker Mark Janus was not a member of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees but the powerful AFSCME had been grabbing $550 a year from Janus’ paycheck and, he contended, using it to support political candidates and causes with which he disagreed. Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that AFSCME couldn’t do that anymore, a huge victory for workers and taxpayers alike. Reaction was swift from government unions, lawyers, and at least one federal judge. For their part, politicians now seek to deploy a new trick.

As Fox News reports, Oregon House Bill 2643 by Rep. Paul Holvey, Eugene Democrat, would create “a slush fund from which state and local government would pay the equivalent of each employee’s monthly dues directly to the union.” Instead of a salary of $50,000, from which $1,000 in agency fees would be deducted, the state revises the salary $49,000 and diverts the remaining $1,000 directly to the union. This obviously disregards the intent of the high court in Janus and “envisions an impossibly unworkable arrangement in which the government represents both labor and management in collective bargaining negotiations.” For taxpayers, whose money is in play, this should prove educational.

In traditional unions, the workers negotiate with management for a bigger share of the profits. By contrast, government employee unions exist to implement government policy and union bosses negotiate with politicians for more dollars from taxpayers, who can’t opt to patronize Don’s Government down the street. Government unions are simply part of governments’ spending mechanism, so no surprise that state Rep. Holvey wants to bypass Janus and give money directly to government unions. This is a bad idea and government unions are a ruling-class special interest.

According to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 33.9 percent of government-sector workers are union members, and a strong majority of government workers, 66.1 percent, are not union members. In the private sector, a full 89.5 percent of workers, a huge majority, are not union members and only 10.5 percent of workers, a small minority, are members of a union.

It is not the role of government to bail out a declining special interest. The courts should uphold Janus and union members should spend only their own money on politics.

K. Lloyd Billingsley is a Policy Fellow at the Independent Institute and a columnist at American Greatness.
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