OLYMPIA… The U.S. Supreme Court today ruled in a 5-4 vote that requiring public employees to pay “agency fees” to labor unions is unconstitutional under the First Amendment. Senate Republican Leader Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, offered this statement about the decision in the case of Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31, and possible legislation concerning state employees and other public-sector workers in Washington who are subject to union dues:
“This case was never about the labor unions that look out for the interests of a huge number of people in our state’s private sector, including the many skilled workers in aerospace, other manufacturing sectors and the building trades. It was always about the unions that cater primarily or exclusively to state workers and other public employees, and whether those employees get to decide how many of the taxpayer dollars they receive as wages end up being funneled into the unions’ bank accounts. I can imagine how the hardworking members of the Service Employees International Union might want to keep more of their pay if they knew SEIU had just thrown away close to $70,000 of their dues to push the ill-conceived Seattle jobs tax that was too outrageous to survive for even a month.
“The ruling in the Janus case doesn’t change the fact that public employees in Washington lost ground this year to the unions. This coming year we may see some legislative proposals to address those setbacks and protect public-sector union members in ways that their counterparts in the private sector already enjoy.”