New Mexico stops deducting unconstitutional union fees from state employees

New Mexico stops deducting unconstitutional union fees from state employees

The state of New Mexico has taken steps to comply with the Janus v. AFSCME decision by stopping all union dues and fees until members sign new authorizations. Illinois should follow suit.

The state of New Mexico has stopped deducting dues and fees from the paychecks of state employees represented by unions until it has a clear indication of their membership intent, according to the Santa Fe New Mexican.

In order to ensure compliance with the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 2018 decision in Janus v. AFSCME, which held that forcing government workers to pay a union against their will was unconstitutional, New Mexico is asking workers to sign new forms indicating whether they are members of a union. The forms clearly indicate that by choosing to join, workers waive their First Amendment rights.

Similarly, a school district in New Jersey has stopped deducting union dues and fees until it obtains new membership forms from its employees.

State and local government employers in Illinois should be doing the same thing. The Supreme Court held that it is unconstitutional to deduct union dues or fees from an employee’s paycheck without the employee’s clear and affirmative consent.

While the state of Illinois has stopped deducting fees from state workers who are not union members, that does not go far enough to comply with the high standard of clear and affirmative consent set forth in Janus.

A government union in New Mexico has filed a challenge with the state’s Public Employee Labor Relations Board, but the state is on firm footing.

Any forms signed before the Janus decision do not meet the high standard of clear and affirmative consent laid out by the court. That’s because prior “consent” was based on an unconstitutional choice: Pay dues to the union and become a member, or pay fees to a union and remain a nonmember.

“Consent” based on an unconstitutional choice is not valid, and therefore employers should cease deducting union dues or fees immediately until employees provide authorization indicating their newly informed choice.

But because some employers may not act quickly – and because unions may attempt to delay or thwart such action – it is best that state and local government employees in Illinois take steps to alert their employers and unions that they do not want dues or fees deducted from their paychecks any longer.

Below is an outline of what state and local government employees can do to ensure their employers comply in a timelier manner.

How to opt out of union fees: 

Step 1: Notify the union in writing that you are resigning from union membership.

Step 2: Notify your employer that you are no longer a union member and, therefore, you withdraw any authorization for dues or fees to be deducted from your paycheck.

Some government unions and employers previously placed limits on when employees could execute Step 2. Under Janus, those procedures are obsolete and should not be required. Taking the steps above within the previously required time frames, however, should ensure that any unions or employers attempting to enforce opt-out time frames stop deducting fees from your paycheck right away.

For more detailed information, visit leavemyunion.com.

If you are already a fair share payer: 

If you think you are a fair share payer but aren’t sure, you should complete both Steps 1 and 2 to make sure fees are not deducted from your paycheck.

If you know you are a fair share payer, you have already completed Step 1 (opting out of the union). But to best ensure your employer stops deducting union fees from your paycheck immediately, you should complete Step 2:

Step 2: Notify your employer that you are no longer a union member and, therefore, you withdraw any authorization for dues or fees to be deducted from your paycheck.

For further information, visit leavemyunion.com.

Want more? Get stories like this delivered straight to your inbox.

Thank you, we'll keep you informed!