Government-employee unions are struggling financially.
Because of last year’s Supreme Court decision in Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. We wrote about that historic case here.
For years, powerful government-employee unions have given millions of dollars of member dues to political causes many members don’t believe in.
For years, these unions they have used their power, money and employees for political action.
But no longer can they automatically extract money from government employees through coercion. They are losing money – though they still have lots of it.
The Supreme Court ruling in Janus said public-sector unions could no longer force government employees who opt out of joining their union to pay partial union dues.
As a result, two of the largest public-sector unions in the country lost more than 210,000 so-called “agency-fee members” last year:
- The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) – the defendant in the Janus case – lost 98% of its agency-fee-paying members.
- The Service Employees International Union (SEIU), lost 94% of its agency-fee-paying members.
AFSCME reported having 112,233 agency-fee payers (compared to 1.3 million dues-paying members), but that number dropped to just 2,215 in the union’s 2018 report.
The SEIU reported having 104,501 agency-fee payers in 2017 (compared to 1,919,358 dues-paying members), but just 5,812 at the end of 2018.
In terms of lost revenue, AFSCME reported a $4.1 million drop in 2018. The SEIU reported a gain; however, Bloomberg Law reported that some 2017 revenue was reported in 2018 due to “accounting lags.”
Overall union membership levels have remained roughly the same since the Janus ruling – which means most full-fledged members decided to stay with their unions even after Janus opened the door for them to leave.
Non-members almost unanimously wanted to stop paying the so-called “agency fee” – that part of union dues supposedly used to provide collective bargaining services only … and not used to engage in political activity.
The Janus case was important for worker freedom. Individuals who choose to support a union can continue doing so … and those who don’t want to fund union activities are no longer forced to do so.
What do you think? Email me at [email protected]
Here are the rest of this week’s articles: