Spreading the good news about the Supreme Court's Janus decision to union members nationwide

A couple of public policy groups are seeking to get the word out to union members about the Supreme Court’s Janus decision. Naturally, HuffPost reports efforts allowing people to keep more of their own money and to dry up campaign support for Democrats as bad news, but it sounds like good news to me:

The Supreme Court’s recent landmark ruling on union fees was not even a day old when public school teachers in Rochester, New York, received a related email through their work accounts. The subject line read: “New York Union Members Now Have a Choice in Paying Dues.”

The message came from the Mackinac Center, a Michigan-based conservative group that has pushed “right to work” and other anti-union legislation over the years. It steered recipients to an online opt-out form they could use to leave their union, which is an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers.

The email, which AFT shared with HuffPost, is a sign of what faces organized labor as conservative groups around the country work to dry up the revenue streams for public sector unions…

Lindsay Killen, a spokeswoman for the Mackinac Center, said the group plans outreach in all 22 affected states, although it will focus on the 11 states “with the highest critical mass of public employees,” including New York and New Jersey. With $10 million earmarked for this year, the campaign will be heavy on online advertising but will also send direct mail and targeted emails to union members.

The Mackinac Center website is here. Just fill out a few details and the site will generate a suitable letter which will allow you to opt out of your union. Meanwhile, the Washington State based Freedom Foundation is going to be sending people door-to-door in three west coast states. From Bloomberg:

The conservative nonprofit Freedom Foundation said that starting Wednesday, it will deploy 80 people to a trio of West Coast union bastions: California, Oregon and its home state of Washington. The canvassers were hired in March and trained this month, according to internal documents reviewed by Bloomberg News. The goal of the multi-pronged campaign is to shrink union ranks in the three states by 127,000 members—and to offer an example for similar efforts targeting unions around the country.

“Their employer isn’t going to tell them, and the union isn’t going to tell them,” said the anti-union group’s labor policy director, Maxford Nelsen. “So it falls to organizations like the Freedom Foundation to take up that mantle and make sure that public employees are informed of their constitutional rights.”

Sunday, Mark Janus, the person who brought the case against AFSCME, wrote a piece for the Washington Post explaining why he did it:

In 2017, as media pundits wondered whether Illinois would be the first state to have its credit rating downgraded to junk status, I watched the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) union lobby for higher taxes to pay for higher salaries and benefits for government workers such as me. Certainly, my salary wasn’t the cause of the state’s financial woes, but when you consider that I have had a raise almost every year I have been working for the state — and that I work alongside more than 35,000 other state employees — you can begin to see how that might affect the state’s bottom line. That’s in addition to the incredibly generous, taxpayer-funded pension offered to state workers — an average of $1.6 million per state employee, according to a report from the Illinois Policy Institute…

Why don’t politicians just say no to the demands of the unions when they know the state can’t afford them? Because the unions bankroll into office the same people who ink their contracts. Unions are among the top spenders in elections, and they make sure that people who don’t support their demands lose their seats.

Until last week, the only way to get out of paying the administrative fees required by the union was for Janus to quit his job. Now he and about 5 million other employees have a choice. Hopefully, hundreds of thousands of those employees will now choose to stop funding these partisan organizations.

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