Federal labor law provides for a duty to fair representation. However, NYS may have defined that down for public sector unions in the Empire State.
The NY Post has an Article on the new state labor law that was sent to me by my friend Bronx ATR.
A provision tucked into the state budget gives public-employee unions the right to deny many services, such as free legal help, to covered employees who opt not to join or pay dues.
The US Supreme Court is soon expected to decide whether states such as New York that give unions the right to compel payment of “agency fees” from workers who refuse to join violate those employees’ First Amendment rights.
The fees are basically a portion of regular union dues, excluding spending on political activities.
To push employees to keep filling union coffers, the new state law says unions are no longer obligated to provide any services to opt-out members beyond basic salary and benefits required by contract.
For example, an opt-out worker who is brought up on disciplinary charges now has to pay for his or her own lawyer instead of using a union attorney without charge.
“It’s to let employees know what they’re getting. Why should you be getting benefits if you don’t pay dues?” asked Assemblyman Peter Abbate (D-Brooklyn), who chairs the Governmental Employees Committee and helped draft the law in consultation with the state AFL-CIO.
“If you’re not paying dues, then there’s not enough money for the unions to provide you service.”
In addition, the law makes it easier for unions to sign up workers and more difficult for workers to withdraw, by requiring the government to begin dues deductions “no later than 30 days” after getting an authorization form.
It looks like it will be as close to business as usual as possible post Janus. We thought this might be tied up in the courts for a long time and that could come true.
The only real way to change the situation is not to opt out of a union but to come together as a real rank and file driven union.
Leadership is out to keep the dues gravy train rolling as their first priority. Do not underestimate their ability in this area. For example, have you ever tried to stop voluntary COPE contributions? You can do it but it takes some work.
If the UFT leadership were a tenth as skilled at protecting teachers as they are at looking out for themselves, virtually nobody would be under attack. We would have our professional dignity back.