Minnesota doesn’t inform public employees
I have written extensively about the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in the case Janus v. AFSCME on June 27, 2018. This decision, in favor of the plaintiff Mark Janus, reaffirmed public employees’ rights regarding union membership.
But because the state of Minnesota is not informing its public employees about their restored rights—often now referred to as Janus rights—nor is the state in full compliance with the Janus decision, I need to keep writing about the case and its implications. So, below are six things every government employee should know regarding their rights and the ins and outs of union membership, courtesy of Stand With Workers.
- Your employer should inform you of your rights.
For public employees hired after June 27, 2018, your employer—the government body that you work for—should inform you of your right to join or not join a union and to pay or not pay union dues. Your employer cannot say, “You should/shouldn’t join the union,” nor can the employer require union membership as a condition of employment. If you were not informed of your right to refrain from union membership, then your Janus rights may have been violated.
- You have the right to decide whether to join a union.Union membership is a personal decision. Therefore, only you—not your employer, not the union, not a fellow colleague—can decide whether you want to join the union and pay union membership dues. You cannot be pressured to join a union, and your job is not at risk should you choose not to join or pay dues.
- You cannot be forced to pay anything to a union.The Janus decision says that no public employee has to financially support a union. If a public employee chooses to be a union member, then he or she will be charged union dues. If you are not a union member, no union dues or fees can be deducted from your paycheck.
- The government must get your permission to deduct union dues from your paycheck.Because the Supreme Court ruled that “employees must choose to support the union before anything is taken from them,” no dues or fees can be deducted from your paycheck unless you have been fully informed of your right not to pay union dues and then freely give your written, signed permission to have dues deducted from your paycheck.If you signed a union membership card prior to June 27, 2018, the union must get a new signed card with your explicit permission to have your dues deducted.
- Employer-provided benefits are not tied to your union membership status.If you decide to not join the union, you will not lose employee benefits such as health insurance and retirement. The benefits you are offered by your employer are available regardless of your union membership status.
- You have a right to talk to your employer about your salary and benefits, union membership, and your Janus rights.Because public employees must now be fully informed about their options regarding union membership and give their permission to have union dues deducted from each paycheck, employers are obligated to discuss these rights with employees. The union should not be left to answer these questions.
Please share this with any public employee you know—whether he or she works at the local or state level, in a public school district, for a state agency, etc. There are still too many public employees who are being kept in the dark about their rights.