Where I Come From, We Call That Theft

By State Representative Mike Nearman —

I was pleased to be invited by Freedom Foundationto participate in a press conference highlighting their most recent lawsuit against public employee unions and the State of Oregon.

As you may know, last summer the United States Supreme Court ruled that no public employer could deduct union dues without the explicit authorization of the employee.  Writing for the majority, Justice Samuel Alito could not have been more clear:

…States and public-sector unions may no longer extract agency fees from nonconsenting employees.  Under Illinois law, if a public-sector collective bargaining agreement includes an agency-fee provision and the union certifies to the employer the amount of the fee, that amount is automatically deducted from the nonmember’s wages. No form of employee consent is required.

This procedure violates the First Amendment and cannot continue. Neither an agency fee nor any other payment to the union may be deducted from a nonmember’s wages, nor may any other attempt be made to collect such a payment, unless the employee affirmatively consents to pay. By agreeing to pay, nonmembers are waiving their First Amendment rights, and such a waiver cannot be presumed. Rather, to be effective, the waiver must be freely given and shown by “clear and compelling” evidence. Unless employees clearly and affirmatively consent before any money is taken from them, this standard cannot be met.

I was pleased to deliver this statement to the media at the press conference, which I think summarizes the intent of the suit.

This lawsuit is based on a simple idea:  No person should be compelled to join or support an organization against their will or without their explicit permission as a condition of employment.  Millions of dollars are taken from tens of thousands of public employees without their consent and this lawsuit seeks to put a stop to that.

Public employee unions spend millions of dollars each election cycle on causes that are entirely unrelated to collective bargaining issues, such as illegal aliens and abortions — to name just a few examples in the latest election.  Since the Janus decision was handed down, many of these dollars have been illegally taken from public employees, and this has to stop.

We have a problem in Oregon, where local and state governments are increasingly unable to deliver services with the revenues they already have.  We are seeing governments continue to raise taxes and attempt to raise taxes — over and above population growth and inflation — so that they can hire more and more public employees.  Clearly, this is driven by unions who are dependent on the collection of dues for their survival.  This is not a sustainable path for Oregon.

I’m grateful for organizations like the Freedom Foundation, for truly standing up for the rights of public employees to keep their hard-earned dollars.

The state continues to illegally take moneyfrom public employees. This money was used in the last election against Republican candidates for office as well as against conservative ballot measures.

Where I come from, we call that theft.

State Representative Mike Nearman (R-Independence) proudly continues to fight for public employees to be able to choose whether or not to join a union and pay dues.