The Public Employee Rights and Authorization Act

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Model Bill Info
Bill Title The Public Employee Rights and Authorization Act
Date Introduced August 10, 2018
Date Finalized September 18, 2018
Type Model Policy
Status Final
Task Forces Commerce, Insurance and Economic Development

The Public Employee Rights and Authorization Act

Model Resolution

Section 1. Introduction

A. The U.S. Supreme Court held in Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Council 31 that public sector employees are permitted to decline making financial payments to a labor organization and may not be terminated from their job for declining to make such payment. The First Amendment guarantees the freedom to associate or not to associate with a labor organization and employees must provide clear, affirmative consent before any money or payment may be charged to them. Public employers shall immediately be required to verify that their employees provide affirmative consent before making payments to a labor organization.

The public purpose of this Act is to avoid having public employees misled into forfeiting free speech rights and suffering financial losses.

Section 2. Title

A. This Act shall be known as the Public Employee Rights and Authorization Act.

Section 3. Definitions

A. “Labor organization” means any agency, union, employee representation committee or organization of any kind that exists for the purpose, in whole or in part, of dealing with employers concerning wages, rates of pay, hours of work, other conditions of employment or other forms of compensation.

B. “Affirmative consent” means a knowing, voluntary, complete and intelligent waiver by a public employee of his or her explicit authorization to financially support a labor organization. Affirmative consent shall be provided in written form and signed by the public employee.

Section 4. Requirement for Affirmative Consent

A. No labor organization may collect a payment from a public employee until the employee provides affirmative consent.

B. A public agency may not deduct from the wages of an employee any payment meant to financially support a labor organization without affirmative consent from the employee.

C. Affirmative consent cannot be presumed. To be effective, the affirmative must be freely given and shown by clear and compelling evidence.

D. Any authorization of payments to a labor organization provided before June 27, 2018, is insufficient to constitute affirmative consent or a waiver of an employee’s rights under Janus v. AFSCME.

E. A public employee may revoke his or her affirmative consent at any time by providing written revocation to the public employer or the labor organization. The right to revoke affirmative consent cannot be waived.

Section 5. Union Membership

A. No public employee shall be required as a condition of obtaining or continuing public sector employment to:

Resign or refrain from membership in, voluntary affiliation with or voluntary financial support of a labor organization.

Become or remain a member of a labor organization.

Pay any dues, fees, assessments or other charges of any kind or amount, or provide anything else of value to a labor organization.

Pay to any charity or other third party an amount equivalent to, or a portion of, dues, fees, assessments, or other charges required of members of a labor organization.

B. An agreement, contract, understanding or practice between a labor organization and an employer that violates this section is unlawful and unenforceable.

Section 6. Text of Waiver

A. Affirmative consent provided to public employers shall include the following language:

I recognize that I have a First Amendment right to associate. My rights provide that I am not compelled to pay a labor organization as a condition of employment, and I do not have to sign this waiver. However, I am hereby waiving my right to free speech and affirmatively consent to allow my employer to deduct payments to a labor organization until such time as I choose to revoke this authorization.

B. This provision shall be written in bold and in all caps and shall be in a font that is equal to or larger than any other font found in the text of the form. This waiver shall be a standalone document and shall not be a part of a document that serves additional purposes or has additional provisions.

C. This Act does not supersede any prohibition on public employers deducting payments to labor organizations provided by statute.

Section 7. Penalties

A. Any person who suffers an injury or a threatened injury under this Act may bring a civil action for damages, injunctive relief or both. In addition, the court shall award a prevailing plaintiff costs and reasonable attorney fees.

Section 8. Effective Date

This Act is effective immediately, including application to agreements, contracts, understandings or practices that are in place or are extended, amended or renewed after this Act takes effect.

Section 9. Severability