California labor leaders understand full well what’s at stake when the U.S. Supreme Court announces its decision later this month in Janus v. AFSCME, and they’ve shifted their misinformation machine into overdrive while they still can.
Earlier this week, the Sacramento Bee and Fox News both reported on several bills working their way through the California Legislature whose objective is to preempt Janus before the justices issue a ruling that would affirm the right of government employees to opt out of union dues and fees.
Two of the bills (AB 1937 and AB 2049) would require local agencies to abide by the newest terms of union membership forms. Months ago, the unions sent out new membership cards to public employees to sign, ostensibly as a show of support for the union. But the move was far more than mere symbolism.
In fact, the cards contain language that, once signed, would make payment of full union dues nearly irrevocable.
A third bill introduced by Assemblyman Jim Cooper would prevent the government from disclosing the sites at which public employees are required to attend union orientation sessions. The unions brazenly claim the measure is needed to protect workers from physical abuse but, in fact, Cooper’s true objective is to keep workers from hearing the truth about their rights from the Freedom Foundation.
Meanwhile, Fox News covered the Freedom Foundation’s efforts to communicate with teachers and union members about their rights if the Supreme Court sides, as generally anticipated, with plaintiff Mark Janus.
It’s no small secret that public-sector unions have a symbiotic relationship with politicians in Sacramento. When the Freedom Foundation went to testify on a right-to-work bill, for example, union leaders quickly mobilized hundreds of paid volunteers to testify against the bill and demand their pay-to-play politicians to keep the political charade going.
This year is no different. Several months back, public-sector unions handed out “recommitment cards” to their union members and made everyone sign away their rights. However, the fine print, conveniently tucked away into the recesses of the contract established significant hurdles to the opt out process even if the Supreme Court grants workers right-to-work protections.
One UTLA teacher wrote to the Freedom Foundation saying they were handed new membership forms and at no time did the union representative mention that the forms had anything to do with irrevocable dues.
This teacher later wrote back that “it was unfortunate that the membership card was not factually represented in its terms.” That’s the understatement of the century.
This teacher was responding to the Freedom Foundation’s 50,000 emails sent last month to warn teachers about unions’ underhanded tactics. Meanwhile, the California Legislature was on its way to passing two bills designed to give teeth to these “irrevocable dues” clauses written into the contract. This is not California specific. Unions across the country are attempting to get public employees to sign away their constitutional rights ahead of time.
Their panicked actions reveal union executives are terrified at the prospect of what their members might do when given a choice.