ALASKA ORDERS NEW HIRES TO SIGN UP, PAY DUES, OR ELSE
The Janus vs AFSCME ruling at the Supreme Court in June was unambiguous in deciding that union membership for public employees is optional.
But the State of Alaska promotes it as a requirement for new employees, and gives no information on how to opt out.
The Janus decision says government workers must have a choice when it comes to union membership, The question before the court was from a child-support worker in Illinois, who didn’t want to join the state union: To keep their jobs, should government employees be forced to fund the political agendas of unions, even if they disagree with them?
Public-sector unions do work that is inherently political, including lobbying and bargaining with the government and telling the government what it should spend. This is political speech, protected by the First Amendment. But forcing workers to pay for speech they disagree with violates their First Amendment rights.
But the Walker Administration is dragging its heels in implementing the Janus decision: at the Department of Administration, several online notices state that enrolling in union membership is a requirement for newly hired employees and is time sensitive. Two of them are shown here:
While Gov. Bill Walker recently signed Administrative Order 296, saying that, in response to the Janus ruling, the state cannot give workers’ information to unions, nor force or coerce membership in them, his Labor Commissioner Heidi Drygas penned her own stunning analysis of the Janus ruling, calling it a “right to work for less” policy and “forcing unions to represent free riders who pay nothing but receive union benefits.”
She wrote the Janus ruling is after one thing: “bust unions, which have long been the foundation of America’s middle class.”
Drygas’ essay may be the political signal that indicates the State is going to take its time in changing policies relating to union membership. Here is her essay in full:
GOVERNOR OPPOSES JANUS RULING, TOO
At the recent joint Chamber of Commerce candidate forum in Wasilla last month, gubernatorial candidates Gov. Bill Walker and Mark Begich both said they oppose the Janus ruling.
To date, no information is easily available at the State’s websites telling employees how they may opt-out of the unions. Instead, the State appears to be dragging its feet on compliance with Janus — and taking its cue from the chief executive, whose reelection campaign is (not coincidentally) enjoying strong government union support.