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Alaska Governor Orders Union State Workers to ‘Opt-In’ to Membership

October 13, 2019

By Steve Wishnia and Neal Tepel

JUNEAU, Alaska—Gov. Mike Dunleavy on Sept. 26 ordered the state personnel agency to require all unionized state employees to “opt-in” to union membership. The order to the state Department of Administration said that under the Supreme Court’s 2018 decision in Janus v. AFSCME, the state could not allow union dues to be deducted from paychecks without “clear and compelling” evidence that the worker had “freely consented to waive his or her First Amendment rights by authorizing the deduction.” “Their interpretation is completely out of line with any other interpretation that we’ve heard of,” state AFL-CIO President Vince Beltrami told the Anchorage Daily News. “They’re doing it to bust the union, 100%.” The about 12,000 of the state’s 14,800 executive branch employees who are union members will have to opt-in either online followed by a “confirming email exchange,” or by mail. State administration commissioner Kelly Tshibaka said the system will begin running around Dec. 2. “We’re going to fight it. We’re going to use every legal tool we have to oppose it,” said Alaska Public Employees Association business manager Brian Penner. The Alaska State Employees Association said the rule violates the contract it signed in August. Read more

October 13, 2019

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