August 30, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Pierre, SD – South Dakota law currently prohibits labor unions from charging nonmembers for the costs of representation—but an initiative on the state’s November ballot could change that.
Initiated Measure 23 would give corporate or nonprofit organizations the right to charge fees for any services they provide—“notwithstanding any other provisions of law.” Opponents charge that the measure is an attempt to evade the state’s “right to work” law. “It's designed to force people who choose not to belong to unions to pay them fees anyway,” said David Owen, president of the state Chamber of Commerce. That law is unfair and forces unions to provide services for nothing, responds Jason George of International Union of Operating Engineers Local 49, one of the initiative’s main backers. “You still don't have to be a member,” he said. “You're just going to have to pay for what you get.” Read more