Reform California and the California Policy Center launched a campaign Wednesday to help government employees who may want to leave their unions and stop paying union dues.
The campaign comes on the heels of a June 2018 U.S. Supreme Court decision in the case of Janus v. AFCME in which the court ruled that public sector employees cannot be compelled to join a union or pay dues. The court ruled that collective bargaining is inherently political, and a theoretical union that could compel a member to fund political activity they don’t agree with would violate the First Amendment.
In light of the decision, Reform California, a political action committee that primarily opposes tax increases, and the California Policy Center, a conservative think tank generally active in efforts to reform pensions and education, said that the average government employee could save roughly $800 per year by avoiding compulsory union dues.
“We have heard from hundreds of government employees in San Diego County that want out of their union and want to keep their money, but the union bosses have illegally denied them their rights,” said Reform California’s chairman, former San Diego City Councilman Carl DeMaio. “That is completely unacceptable and illegal — and this campaign will give government employees the information, the vehicle and the legal support to fight back and keep their money.”
The two organizations plan to pilot the campaign in San Diego County over the next two months.
Should it prove successful, the campaign would then move statewide.
SEIU Local 221 President David Garcias pushed back on the campaign, framing it as a transparent attempt by DeMaio to keep his political career afloat.
“These anti-worker extremists want to weaken worker power and lower wages, so they can continue to rig the economy against the middle class, and siphon off obscene profits for the billionaire 1 percent,” Garcias said. “San Diego families have repeatedly seen through DeMaio’s transparent lies and will again.”
— City News Service
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