If a Supreme Court decision is rendered, but no one knows about it, is that acceptable? That is the question New Hampshire’s public employees should be asking about the state legislature’s union rights notification bill.
The bill, Senate Bill 148, was written in response to a June 2018 Supreme Court case called Janus v. AFSCME, Council 31 where the court ruled that public sector (government) employees cannot be compelled by the government/union to pay the union as a condition of employment.
One year later, public sector unions claim the ruling had little impact on membership numbers. One contributing factor: many public sector employees don’t know about the ruling, or their Janus Rights. The National Education Association (NEA) is the largest public (government) sector union in America. Problematically, 77% of teachers have never heard of the Janus case.
Senate Bill 148 covered the information gap by providing public sector employees with notification of their constitutional right to join or not join a union. It also informed public employees how much union membership fees would cost if it were to be withdrawn from their paycheck.
Amendments designed to kill the bill were added by legislators in both the House and Senate before reaching the Governor’s desk. One amendment provided the union with the extraordinary power to meet in a closed room with all new hires to convince them to join the union. Another proposed amendment provided the union with personal information of every new hire, including “home address, personal email address, and home or mobile telephone number of an employee.”
In other states where similar language is written into law, union representatives travel to new hires’ homes and ambush them, call repeatedly to coerce membership in the union, and interact with members of employees’ families to exert pressure.
The amendments would have also allowed public sector unions to host union meetings in taxpayer funded space.
Governor Sununu vetoed the bill and wrote:
“Ensuring that public employees are informed of their options related to union membership is important. However, the other provisions laid out in this bill are items that should be negotiated through the collective bargaining process rather than enacted into law through the legislative process.”
The death of SB148 leaves the state’s 39,000 public employees in the dark about their rights. The government union machine rolls on.