While New York may not be able to stop the Janus case, they are taking steps to lessen the impact on local unions. As part of the recent New York State budget, the state passed a number of reforms that will help to stabilize unions in the event that they can no longer collect fair share fees.
The bill, which was introduced by State Sen. Marisol Alcantara, would change a number of rules governing services that are required to be provided for non-paying employees in the bargaining unit. Now, unions will not have to provide any services other than bargaining for basic wages and benefits. This means that if you decide to opt-out of the union, they will not have to provide you a lawyer for a disciplinary hearing. It would also require public employers to begin dues deductions no later than 30 days after they receive a union authorization form. The bill would also limit the time when someone can opt out of the union.
“Once again, New York is leading the rest of the country in protecting the rights of working men and women,” said New York State AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento. “This legislation is about New York State pushing back against a well-funded attack by corporations and billionaires. The Janus case is an attempt by right-wing ideologues to diminish wages, benefits, worker safety, and worst of all, silence the voice of workers.”
A similar effort is ongoing in New Jersey.