SB 6199, HB 2751, and SB 6229: Three bills seek to protect union financial interests at the expense of worker rights

By ERIN SHANNON  | 
LEGISLATIVE MEMO
|
Feb 27, 2018

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Introduction

The U.S. Supreme Court is considering the highly anticipated Janus v AFSCME case, which could end the forced unionization of every public employee in the nation.  Labor unions in Washington state are not taking any chances.

Sponsors of the Washington state bills, SB 6199, HB 2751, and SB 6229, seek to work around the U.S. Supreme Court to continue to force public employees to pay for union representation many workers do not want.  

Taking advantage of their control of the state’s government, Democrats in the state House of Representatives and Senate are passing the bills that reward labor unions for their generous campaign contributions.   Each of these bills has passed one house of the legislature.  If the bills pass both chambers, they are almost certain to receive the signature of Democratic Governor Jay Inslee, who has indicated his support for the special interest groups that have contributed millions to his election campaigns.

Background

On February 26, the nation’s highest court heard arguments from both sides of the case of Janus v. the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.  The case resurrects the Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association challenge to the forced unionization of public school teachers.  The Court was expected to rule in favor of public school teacher Rebecca Friedrichs in 2016, but the sudden death of Justice Scalia left the issue unresolved.

Now the Court is set to consider the same legal arguments against the forced unionization of public workers.  If the Court rules in favor of Mark Janus, a child support specialist at the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Service (which appears likely), public employees in the 22 states without a right-to-work law, like Washington, will no longer be forced to choose between paying the union or keeping their jobs.  Every public employee in the nation will be free to choose. 

If past history is any indication, unions are determined to continue forcing workers to unionize, seemingly viewing such U.S. Supreme Court decisions as inconveniences to be worked around.

Download file Download the full legislative memo here