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12 Things You Need To Know About Government Unions

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By Stan Greer

1. Even pro-union politicians used to think public sector unionism was too radical.

Long after the pro-union monopoly National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) was adopted in 1935, even strong supporters of this statute rejected the appropriateness of attempting anything analogous in federal, state, or local government.

For example, in 1937, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who just two years earlier had publicly endorsed and signed the NLRA, wrote a letter to a government union official explaining it is “impossible for administrative officials to represent fully or bind the employer” in dealings with “Government employee organizations” because “the employer is the whole people . . . .”

12. Millions of public servants remain subject to compulsory unionism.

Thanks to the Harris decision, an estimated 500,000 home-care providers nationwide who are currently being forced to pay dues to a union may have a free choice in the near future as the 14 states that currently have home-care compulsory-dues schemes like Illinois come into compliance with the ruling.

In Illinois alone, where roughly 25,000 home caregivers were annually forced to pay union dues or fees, Big Labor could lose as much as $11 million a year. Nationwide, government union chiefs could be out as much as $80 million annually.

Of course, this is but a pittance compared to the billions of dollars in annual losses the union hierarchy would have faced if all of the roughly 5.8 million unionized public employees in non-Right-to-Work states were suddenly free from the threat of termination for refusing to bankroll an unwanted union. Encouragingly, the High Court in Harris did cast into grave doubt whether state laws and policies authorizing forced union dues from public servants are permissible under the First Amendment.

However, at least for the near future, the task of actually eliminating these constitutionally dubious statutes and policies has been left to state legislative and executive officials.

Read more: Union Watch

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