Gov. Walz must restore Minnesota public employees’ First Amendment rights

Alaska Governor Michael J. Dunleavy issued an executive order Thursday afternoon to bring the state into compliance with the 2018 United States Supreme Court’s ruling in Janus v. AFSCME. “A contract that is unconstitutional is no contract at all,” said Alaska’s Attorney General Kevin Clarkson, after issuing a formal opinion that the state did not have the required “clear and compelling evidence” of affirmative consent from public employees before deducting union dues from their paychecks. The executive order will give public employees in Alaska the choice of affirmatively opting-in to union dues deduction, and also allow them to revoke their decision at any time.

Catrin Wigfall, policy fellow at Center of the American Experiment, said Minnesota’s governor should issue a similar order.

“Today we call on Gov. Walz to fully restore public employees’ First Amendment rights in Minnesota. The Supreme Court’s decision is clear: Public employees must provide explicit consent before the state can legally deduct union dues from their paychecks. Employees also deserve the flexibility to opt in or out of the union whenever they choose.”

If Minnesota followed Alaska’s lead, public employees like Susan Halloran, who filed a lawsuit against AFSCME Council 5 last week, would have the opportunity to fully consider their options before making a decision about paying dues to the union. Halloran was pulled out of a training session during the workday and was pressured into signing a dues-authorization form without knowing what it would cost or understanding her options. After discovering dues would cost approximately $700 per year while she was undergoing expensive treatment for cancer, she attempted to revoke the dues authorization but was denied by AFSCME.

Watch Alaska Gov. Dunleavy’s press conference announcing the executive order here:

Governor Announces Administrative Order to Bring Alaska in Compliance with Janus Ruling from Governor Mike Dunleavy on Vimeo.