More reactions to Janus decision; Sen. Schoesler wants to know how the governor will implement new policy in union relations

It’s beyond doubtful that Illinois child support specialist Mark Janus was chosen for his name to be plaintiff in a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision with sweeping consequences for public employee unions. But his is a delightful aptonym.

In Roman mythology,

According to some, he was the custodian of the universe but, to all Romans, he was the god of the beginnings and the ends, presiding over every entrance and departure, and because every door and passageway looks in two directions, Janus was seen as two-faced or Janus bifrons — the god who looked both ways.

We’ll not push this too far, other than to note that the court’s Janus case is widely and appropriately seen as both an end and a new beginning. As well, it may herald the departure of a number of union members but loosely affiliated with their unions.

Sen. Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, has written Gov. Jay Inslee to inquire how the state will implement new labor policies in the post-Janus environment.

Since the court inlanus ruled that requiring public employees to pay “agency fees” to labor unions isunconstitutional under the First Amendment, I would appreciate being informed about how you intend todirect your administration and labor negotiators to implement the policy changes that are now required in ourstate in accordance with Janus. Specifically, given the court’s opinion that it is illegal to automatically extractunion dues and fees from public employees’ paychecks, without their written consent, I am further asking foryour anticipated timeline when union dues and fees will no longer be taken from state employee paychecks without their explicit authorization.

Signaling a desire for more change, he adds,

In addition to directing your negotiators to account for the lanus decisiorls effect on the law created this yearby House Bill 2751. I would also encourage you to direct all collective bargaining negotiations be conducted inpublic view. This would. allow Washington citizens and union members to see for themselves that the unconstitutionality of the HB 2751 law is being acknowledged.

HB 2751 was previously referenced in our earlier blog post, citing this The News Tribune article reporting,

The court also took the case one step farther, saying public-sector unions couldn’t automatically enroll employees and deduct dues without first having their consent. Washington state passed a law earlier this year over Republican objections to make membership “default,” as it was described by the sponsor of House Bill 2751, state Rep. Monica Stonier, D-Vancouver.

Workers would have to opt out to leave the union under that law. [Greg Devereux, executive director of the Washington Federation of State Employees] said the bill was “nice and helpful,” but it now is illegal.

Seems likely Schoesler and Devereux are right on the mooted fate of HB 2751. 

Manhattan Institute scholar Daniel DiSalvo weighs in on what Janus means for Washington.

Wednesday’s landmark 5-4 Supreme Court decision in Janus v. AFSCME has implications for Washington state. While its impact will be more limited than public employee unions fear and their critics hope, it will politically rebalance the state’s Eastern and Western halves…

Four factors will, however, soften the blow of losing agency fees for public unions. One, Washington’s public unions are starting from an all-time high level of union penetration into state and local government. Two, there are likely to be legislative efforts to strengthen public union rights. New York and New Jersey recently passed laws that facilitate union organizing by requiring new employees to meet with unions.

Three, public unions in Washington have been on notice that agency fees were in legal jeopardy and have been vigorously organizing to retain their members. Four, public unions can maintain their political clout by increasing the dues paid by those who remain union members.

Reporting for The Lens, TJ Martinell also tries to suss out implications for our state.

Picking up a familiar theme, New York Times writer Noam Scheiber traces the adverse effect on unions’ political coffers that might stem from the decision. 

The Seattle Times presents pro-Janus and con-Janus (the duality continues!!) op-eds. The News Tribune reports an Olympia-based conservative group will try to spread the Janus word to Oregon, California, and Washington.

This ramifications of the decision are just beginning to unfold. Clearly, it’s not nothing.