Around 1/3 of Minnesota government workers have said ‘no thanks’ to union membership

In 2018, Minnesota public employees were freed from financially supporting a government union in order to keep their job (Janus v. AFSCME). Since then, nearly 32 percent of public workers in the state have declined union membership according to public records requests from 2022, reports the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.

The landmark Janus v. AFSCME decision by SCOTUS on June 27, 2018 impacted millions of public-sector employees across the country, restoring their voice and choice when it comes to union membership and where their hard-earned dollars go.

The Mackinac Center analyzed public records requests made to many of the largest government employers, including the state, schools, cities, counties, and universities, to estimate how Minnesota has been directly impacted by the Janus decision.

Based on received data, the public policy organization compared the number of workers employed by government entities with collective bargaining agreements (83,496) and the total number of union members (56,873), finding that 31.9 percent of total employees have declined union membership.

The National Education Association — the largest labor union in the country and the largest national teachers’ union — has lost nearly 8 percent of its active members since Janus (excluding student members, retired members, etc.); the American Federation of Teachers — the other national teachers’ union — has lost over 10 percent; and AFSCME has dropped over 16 percent, according to the Mackinac Center’s analysis of federal LM-2 forms.

“Since the Janus decision in 2018, an increasing number of public employees are exercising their First Amendment right to opt out of union membership, and that trend is likely to continue,” concludes Mackinac.

Janus put the issue of worker freedom center stage, but work remains, as not all unions inform their members or new hires they don’t have to financially support a union as a condition of employment.

That is why efforts like American Experiment’s Educated Teachers and Employee Freedom projects are needed and valued, to continue ensuring that unions don’t get to get away with forging Todd’s signature on a membership form, or denying Gloria’s resignation during the union-enforced opt-out “window,” or skimming dues from Kris as she cares for her daughter.

Union membership is a personal decision, and public employees are saying “no thanks” to union membership for a variety of reasons. Educators, your annual opportunity to assess your relationship with the teachers’ union is coming up in September. Thousands of educators have let Education Minnesota that its politics don’t speak for them or help address their professional needs. Join me virtually for one hour on Saturday, Sept. 9 to learn more about your options regarding union membership.

Public employment and union membership in states impacted by Janus decision, 2022