Across Minnesota, government employers stopped deducting “fair-share” fees from the paychecks of employees who had previously exercised their right not to join the union. That fee was only supposed to cover the cost of collective bargaining; it was 85 percent of full dues. But the high court said that collective bargaining itself was political in nature, and thus employees could not be forced to fund it. People like Mark Janus who had exercised their right not to associate with their workplace union got a pay raise.
Yet public employees paying fair-share fees represent the tip of the proverbial iceberg.
But what about employees who have been paying full union dues? Was there anything in the Janus decision that addressed them?
The court made it clear that employers and unions had to have the affirmative consent of employees before dues are deducted. Justice Samuel Alito, writing for the majority, said that “states and public-sector unions may no longer extract agency fees from nonconsenting employees” and that “[n]either an agency fee nor any other payment to the union may be deducted from a nonmember’s wages, nor may any other attempt be made to collect such a payment, unless the employee affirmatively consents to pay.”
The ground rules for opting-in or out of public employee unions will be worked out over time. But the momentum is clearly with employees.
This fight will play out in the courts, state legislatures and probably the streets for the next several years. In the meantime, what are public employees who want to exercise their right to resign from the union supposed to do?
For K-12 teachers and ESPs (paraprofessionals, payroll clerks, lunch room helpers, et al.) who are paying dues to Education Minnesota, there is a seven-day window to resign that runs between Sept. 24 and Sept. 30: