Monday, April 15, 2024
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Friday, June 29, 2018
Hawaii public unions must adapt to new reality
By Keli'i Akina PhD @ 11:15 AM :: 5178 Views :: First Amendment, Labor

Hawaii public unions must adapt to new reality

From Grassroot Institute, June 29, 2018

In a month that has seen several controversial Supreme Court decisions, the Justices may have saved the biggest one for last.

On Wednesday, the Court handed down its decision in Janus v. AFSCME, which challenged the constitutionality of requiring government employees to pay dues to a public employees union.

Mark Janus, the plaintiff in the case, argued that the agency fees he paid to the union — and which could be used to advocate for positions he opposed — amounted to compelled political speech.

By a vote of 5-4, the Court ruled that, “States and public-sector unions may no longer extract agency fees from nonconsenting employees. This procedure violates the First Amendment and cannot continue.”

In other words, government employees across the country may opt out of joining their state’s public employee unions and no longer will have to pay dues or fees.

The decision was lauded by those who saw the previous policy as a violation of workers’ rights and by union members who were frustrated at having to pay organizations they felt didn’t represent their beliefs. Writing in USA Today, Minnesota teacher Aaron Anthony Benner said:

“In addition to being fair to workers who deserve the freedom to choose whether or not to pay a union, I believe this ruling will lead to unions that are more responsive and attentive to their members.”

However, others condemned the Janus decision. Randy Perreira, executive director of the Hawaii Government Employees Union, told the Honolulu Star Advertiser:

"It creates what in the jargon is called ‘free riders,’ where people would be able to say, ‘I no longer want to pay for the service, but I expect to get it.’”

Perreira added, “This ruling is what it is, but it’s not going to stop us. We’re going to continue to be advocates for the people we represent, and hope and trust that people see the value in the union and continue to be members.”

Hawaii’s policymakers anticipated the Janus decision. In April, Gov. David Ige signed HB 1725, which will allow government employees a 30-day period once a year in which they can opt out of paying union dues.

With the Janus decision only a few days old, it remains to be seen whether it will be followed by mass departures of union members. Some are bracing for a hit to both union membership and union coffers. However, a few unions from right-to-work states say it is possible to keep workers, and even attract more, when membership is voluntary.

In addition, states may look for new ways to support public employee unions. Some have suggested that states fund the unions directly. Others have proposed that legislators create “members only” unions, i.e. unions that only represent and negotiate for only their members. Non-members would not gain the same benefits as those under a union contract.

If Hawaii lawmakers choose to address the Janus decision, they will have to do so with the knowledge that the Court found the free-rider argument insufficient to overcome the First Amendment concerns. They will have to approach the issue in a way that balances Hawaii’s longstanding union tradition with the civil liberty considerations brought forth in the ruling.

E hana kakou (Let’s work together!), 

Keli'i Akina, Ph.D.



TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote


808 Silent Majority

Aloha Pregnancy Care Center


Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Broken Trust

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

DVids Hawaii


Fix Oahu!

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Grassroot Institute

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federalist Society

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Homeschool Association

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii Legal News

Hawaii Legal Short-Term Rental Alliance

Hawaii Matters

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Smokers Alliance

Hawaii State Data Lab

Hawaii Together



Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Moms for Liberty

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

House Minority Blog

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

Investigative Project on Terrorism

July 4 in Hawaii

Kakaako Cares

Keep Hawaii's Heroes

Land and Power in Hawaii

Legislative Committee Analysis Tool

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Malama Pregnancy Center of Maui

Military Home Educators' Network Oahu

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

NAMI Hawaii

National Christian Foundation Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

NFIB Hawaii News

No GMO Means No Aloha

Not Dead Yet, Hawaii

NRA-ILA Hawaii

Oahu Alternative Transport


OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

PEACE Hawaii

People vs Machine

Practical Policy Institute of Hawaii

Pritchett Cartoons

Pro-GMO Hawaii


Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

ReRoute the Rail

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

Robotics Organizing Committee

School Choice in Hawaii

Sink the Jones Act

Statehood for Guam

Talking Tax

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns

UCC Truths

US Tax Foundation Hawaii Info

VAREP Honolulu

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii