Unfortunately, the Washington State Legislature recently passed HB 1575 into law. The legislation undermines public employees’ First Amendment rights as recognized by the U.S. Supreme Court in Janus v. AFSCME in 2018.
In Janus, the court held that it is unconstitutional to compel public employees to financially support a union. The court also held that government employers and unions must have an employee’s affirmative consent before withholding union dues/fees from the employee’s wages.
House Bill 1575 does the following:
- Allows unions to sign public employees up for dues deductions in writing, electronically, or over the phone via “recorded voice authorization.”
- Specifies that employees can only cancel dues deductions from their wages by submitting a written request to the union.
- Prohibits government employers from honoring employees’ requests to stop the deduction of union dues from their wages. Instead, an employee will have to persuade the union to direct the employer to stop the dues deductions.
- Strips employees of their right to vote on unionization in secret-ballot elections administered by the state. Instead, union elections will be conducted petition-style, with union organizers collecting “votes” from employees one-on-one.
For more information, see the Freedom Foundation’s policy analysis of the bill. The Freedom Foundation believes much of the law is unconstitutional and intends to challenge it in court.
If you are a union-represented public employee in Washington state and are interested in helping challenge this new law, send an email describing your situation to firstname.lastname@example.org.