Posts tagged legislature

    Has the Overton Window Shifted on Right-to-Work?

    July 6, 2023 // Advocates of repealing right-to-work didn’t have to. They just needed to get enough people with a union label elected to office. The Overton Window has clearly shifted over the past 30 years. It shifted to make right-to-work possible, but it did not shift enough to make its repeal impossible. Both approval and repeal are in the Overton Window now. That’s a major change. But more work is needed to convince people that unionization should rest on the constitutional right to voluntary association, as is the case with most American institutions.

    ‘What Are We Afraid Of?’: California Legislators May Finally Allow Their Staffers to Unionize Under New Bill

    February 8, 2023 // A wave of unionization in Democratic state legislatures across the country, as well as among some U.S. congressional staff, could also help the cause. Oregon became the first state to allow legislative staff to unionize in 2021. Similar efforts were started in Massachusetts, New York and Washington state. San Diego Democrat Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher — one of the most prominent union champions in the Legislature from 2013 until last year, when she resigned from the Assembly to become head of the California Labor Federation — says there’s no legitimate reason for legislative staff to be blocked from collective bargaining.


    February 7, 2023 // Rep. Andrew Fink, R-Hillsdale, pointed to a 2022 study from the Mackinac Center, a right-leaning Michigan think tank. The study found that counties in “right-to-work” states had higher employment levels compared to bordering counties in non-“right-to-work” states. “Because of our unusual peninsular geography, relatively few communities in Michigan border another right-to-work state, leaving us to bear the brunt of such a policy change,” Fink said.

    Right-to-work under threat in Michigan

    January 20, 2023 // The bill, known as Senate Bill 0005, would reverse many, if not all, worker protections enshrined by the current Right-to-Work law. The bill removes text stating that Michigan workers cannot be forced, intimidated, or compelled to join a labor union, which may lead to union-backed intimidation or coercion. Instead of paying dues, the bill proposal called for Michigan workers to pay a “service fee that may be equivalent to the amount of dues” for a labor union. The bill’s sponsor, State Senator Darrin Camilleri, tweeted, “My first bill of the term is to repeal the anti-union, so-called Right to Work bill. It’s time to restore power to working people.” Camilleri added several claims, such as Michiganders dealing “with the effects of this unjust law” and repealing Right-to-Work law will “finally grant workers greater freedom to join a union.”

    Oregon teachers quit union, Kansas teachers need legislative relief

    December 13, 2022 // Oregon school districts added about 2,100 teachers in the last school year, but union membership in the Oregon Education Association (OEA) dropped by almost 500. Jason Dudash, Freedom Foundation Oregon Director in Oregon, says the membership decline disclosed in internal documents obtained by his organization indicates unions have overstepped their authority in the classroom. “Teachers are realizing their unions support policies that are actively harming the students and profession they love. In Oregon and across the country, thousands of teachers are telling their union, ’We’re sick of this, and we’re done with you.’ That may seem like a crisis for the unions, but it’s great news for the rest of us.

    HEMMED OUT: Why Legislative Employees Can’t Unionize Under the Taylor Law

    December 12, 2022 // Union advocates have argued that employees of the New York State Legislature are covered by the Taylor Law, the 1967 state law that requires state and local public employers, including state agencies, municipalities, and school districts, to recognize and bargain with employee unions. However, applying the Taylor Law to the Senate, the Assembly, or individual members of either house would raise numerous practical and constitutional issues, and any attempt to enforce a contract negotiated under the Taylor Law would likely be voided by state courts.

    OPINION: Spin Control: How did state reach its deal with its unions? Have to wait to see

    October 12, 2022 // The Office of Financial Management rejected Mercier’s request for the opening offers. The contracts have not yet been approved by the Legislature, it said, so the agreements are tentative and anything leading up to them would be “exempt as part of the deliberative process” under the state Public Records Act. The problem with that reasoning is that the contract approval equals biennial budget approval, which isn’t going to happen for at least six months. The Legislature rarely rejects the negotiated contract and can’t even make changes, like shaving the raises by a fraction of a percentage point or reducing the bonus for getting a shot designed to keep workers from getting sick.

    What is Governor agreeing to in secret union employee compensation talks?

    July 15, 2022 // Since the collective bargaining law went into full effect in 2004, union executives no longer have their priorities weighed equally with every other special interest during the legislative budget debate. Instead, they now negotiate directly with the Governor in secret, while lawmakers only have the opportunity to say “yes” or “no” to the entire contract agreed to with the Governor. Not only are there serious transparency concerns with this arrangement, but there are also potential constitutional flaws by unduly restricting the legislature’s constitutional authority to write the state budget. HB 1268, state budget, University of Washington Law Review, public budget process,

    Labor Unions Trying Again for “Card Check” for California Farmworkers

    April 14, 2022 // Card check elections give employers cause for concern. Commenters have noted that by taking away a voter’s secrecy, the employee’s vote is subject to intimidation because there is no longer voter anonymity – union representatives are able to track an employee’s votes. A union may also prefill a ballot card and present it to employee for signature without anything more. There is also concern of unions intimidating and threatening workers who do not sign off on the ballot cards, or pro-union employees using peer pressure to change a co-worker’s “vote.”