Broadside – April 23, 2018 – Editor: Rene Rojas
New Law Protects Public Sector Union Employees from Janus Decision
In previous Broadsides, we discussed the Janus v. AFSCME case, on which the Supreme Court will render a decision in May or June. If the court finds in favor of the plaintiff, one probable outcome is the prohibition of agency fees (mandatory fees paid by non-members in lieu of union dues), effectively making the whole country “right to work.” Unless limited by the laws of the individual states, public sector employees will be allowed to benefit from union negotiating activities and representation without contributing financially to the union’s operations. These non-contributing bargaining unit members are commonly called “free riders.”
In response to the likely outcome of Janus, New York has recently enacted statutory protections to mitigate an adverse Janus decision. This new law (Part RRR of the State Budget, 2018-2019) limits the services public sector unions are required to provide to those non-contributing non-members in the bargaining unit. Below is NYSUT’s summary of the law’s provisions. The law:
Requires public employers to provide the names, locations and contact numbers of all new hires and rehires to the union’s officers within 30 days of employment.
Requires public employers to provide time during work hours within 30 days of the above notification for the union’s officers to meet with all new hires, without loss of employee leave time.
Codifies that individuals may sign dues authorization cards via means allowed by state technology law, allowing emails and other electronic means to be accepted.
Requires employers to begin dues deduction within 30 days of receiving a member’s dues authorization card and requires remittance of the dues to the union within 30 days of making the deduction.
Codifies that members who have left service and who return within a one-year period will automatically have their membership reinstated.
Ensures that a member who is placed on voluntary or involuntary leave will automatically have membership reinstated upon return to the public payroll.
Codifies that the withdrawal process from the union may be determined by the dues authorization card.
Codifies that the union is allowed to offer benefits and services only to its members that are above and beyond a negotiated agreement. The language codifies that the union’s obligation to represent non-members is limited to the negotiation and enforcement of the contract - they will only benefit from the negotiating activities of the union in terms of salaries and benefits offered by the employer.
In other words, public sector unions are not obligated to represent non-members in questioning or disciplinary actions or to bring forward grievances for them when their contractual rights are violated, and so, realistically they will not do so. Non-members will need to hire their own legal representation.
To make sure that you may continue to benefit from all the activities of your union, we ask our members to consider completing the union pledge card (see other attachment) and returning it to your union representative, campus vice president, or the FFECC office (City campus Room 473 attn. Sara Riggie.) The union pledge card is a statement that you believe in the importance of unions and will continue to support the union through your dues. Completing this card will in no way affect the amount which you pay in union dues. On this card you only need to complete the starred (*) information and sign and date the card at the bottom. Also, you need not include any phone numbers, but if you elect to include your cell phone number, you are giving NYSUT permission to contact you using that number.
Your FFECC leadership team:
Andrew Sako, President firstname.lastname@example.org 851-1026
Patricia Kaiser, VP City email@example.com 270-5639
Adrian R. Ranic, VP North firstname.lastname@example.org 270-5828
Jason Steinitz, VP South email@example.com 851-1305
Michael Delaney, Grievance Chair firstname.lastname@example.org 270-5332