Public sector unions losing members, cash, and clout

  • 8 August 2018
  • NormanL

Government employee unions suffered a blow in June when the Supreme Court ruled they could not force non-union members to pay dues.  While a few states are trying to roll back the Court ruling, nationally, the toll on labor has been quick and costly:

In New York, Pennsylvania and Illinois, state governments have stopped collecting millions of dollars in agency fees following a high court ruling banning the practice. Before the ruling, public workers in 22 states who didn’t want to join a union were often required to pay agency fees, which cover collective bargaining costs and can equal as much as 90% of dues paid by members.

Pennsylvania stopped collecting agency fees from 24,000 state workers that totaled $6.6 million last year, a state official said. The figure is expected to grow because it doesn’t include workers at municipalities across the state. In New York, which has the highest rate of public sector union membership, the state stopped collecting agency fees in July from 31,000 state workers which totaled between $9 million and $10 million last year, a spokeswoman for the New York State Comptroller said. That tally is also expected to grow because it doesn’t include local agency fees.

By one estimate, unions in New York state overall will lose $112 million in agency fees from 200,000 state and local workers, based on what workers paid in 2016, according to the Empire Center, a conservative think tank in Albany.

While public sector unions continue to adjust to their new normal, one other thing that will result is the decline in union cash flowing into the coffers of political candidates -- the overwhelming majority of whom are Democrats. Losing money, members and not a little clout is a bad deal for the left. But for workers, and in the long-run, taxpayers and everyone who uses government services, it's very good news.