Anticipating the heads of public agencies in Oregon would respond to the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent Janus ruling by, first, denying they’re affected by it and, second, feigning ignorance about how it works, the Freedom Foundation has preemptively invalidated both excuses by producing a publication that explains in unequivocal terms exactly what their obligations are under the law.
The publication, titled “A Workplace Guide to Janus v. AFSCME,” was mailed on Sept. 5 to more than 400 city, state, school and county human resources directors, as well as numerous elected officials.
The guide ensures government agencies across the state can’t make the claim they never received clear guidance when they don’t comply with the ruling’s standards.
The Janus ruling makes clear the agencies can no longer deduct union dues from public-sector employees who haven’t knowingly authorized doing so. Nor can non-union employees be compelled to pay so-called “agency fees” in lieu of dues.
Per Justice Samuel Alito, who wrote the majority opinion in Janus, workers paying union dues or agency fees, by definition, are waiving their First Amendment rights not to. And such a waiver cannot simply be presumed.
Not only does the Freedom Foundation’s Janus guide serve as a tool to summarize and interpret the court’s decision, it also provides a detailed analysis explaining its scope.
This includes a discussion of how public employers across the state are to comply with the Supreme Court’s decision to ensure their employee’s constitutional rights are protected.
The guide serves as a resource to explain the new “opt-in” system, which means public employees must now sign new union membership cards before dues can be deducted from their paychecks.
Importantly, the ruling makes clear that workers must “knowingly” authorize their dues deduction. And since none could have known they had a right not to pay dues before that right was first articulated in Janus, membership cards signed prior to the ruling are invalid.
The guide warns human resources personnel that dues cannot be deducted unless the deduction was authorized by the employee after the Janus ruling was issued on June 27.
“A Workplace Guide to Janus v. AFSCME”serves as a reminder to public-sector agencies and government unions that the Freedom Foundation stands ready to use legal resources when necessary to establish that the Janus decision is fully and correctly implemented in the state of Oregon.