Two years ago, on June 27, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court told Mark Janus he no longer had to join a union or pay dues or fees to one in order to keep his job as a child support specialist for the state of Illinois.
And neither did millions of other government employees all over the country.
On paper, Janus v. AFSCME was a landmark ruling that ended at least 40 years of union domination in the public workforce. And since it was issued, tens of thousands of Americans have successfully resigned their government union membership.
But doing so shouldn’t have been nearly this hard. Unfortunately, far more people still want to leave their union than have been allowed to. That’s because union leaders — who’ve spent decades gorging themselves on other people’s paychecks — responded to Janus by erecting every obstacle and playing every dirty trick they could think of to prevent its enforcement.
It’s all illegal, mind you, and eventually, justice will be served. In the meantime, every anti-Janus regulation adopted by the unions, every unconstitutional law passed by union-complicit politicians and every head-scratching lower court ruling issued by a judge who owes his or her seat on the bench to government union money keeps billions of dues dollars flowing into union coffers.
During the last two years, the Freedom Foundation has helped more than 75,000 public employees across the country leave their union. We’ve only been doing business in the Keystone State since March, but we’ve already helped more than 300 public employees in this state break ties with a union whose tactics they resent and whose mission they would rather not support.
At an average of $800 a year in dues, that adds up to $240,000 in lost revenue the unions will never get back. That’s more money in the pockets of Pennsylvania families during this period of economic uncertainty.
The Freedom Foundation caught this state’s teachers’ union — the Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA) — spending the dues dollars of its hard working members while attending the national union’s representative assembly last year in Texas. While there, the union bigwigs spent more than $7,500 on Houston Astros’ tickets and another $4,000 on what were presumably in-game expenses.
All told, PSEA officials spent northwards of $150,000 sending their delegates to Houston — a trip that included catering, a four-diamond hotel and, of course, taking them out to the ballpark.
That is just the tip of the iceberg. Government unions routinely spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on other trips and conventions, and they spare themselves no luxuries. There are countless other public-sector unions in this state that have dubious ways of spending other people’s money, which seems particularly egregious during this difficult economic period.
During the last two years, the Freedom Foundation has helped more than 75,000 public employees across the country leave their union.
It comes as no surprise that Gov. Tom Wolf never acknowledged our suggestion that Pennsylvania issue a three-month moratorium on public-sector union dues collections in order to ease the economic burden on millions of Pennsylvanians, and which would have pumped at least $63 million into our state’s economy at no taxpayer expense.
The Commonwealth would’ve seen an immediate direct result from this, but the governor would apparently rather do the unions’ bidding than help out families in need. How do we know this? Because in his last campaign cycle, public-sector unions wrote more than $10 million in checks to get him elected.
Connect the dots.
Our Commonwealth has suffered tremendously these past few months during the COVID-19 shutdown, and thousands of jobs and businesses will never come back. Last month, it was reported that 1.9 million jobless claims were filed in Pennsylvania. In a state that only has 12.5 million people, this is a crushing blow.
And yet the governor decided to serve his cronies rather than the people he represents and let the union cash flow and political slush funds keep growing every day while everyone else suffers and struggles to make ends meet.
On this second anniversary of the Janus decision, we urge all public-sector employees in Pennsylvania to question where their hard-earned union dues dollars are really going.
Hunter Tower is the Pennsylvania Director of the Freedom Foundation, a non-profit that assists public employees in leaving their unions. He is the previous executive director of the Republican Committee of Lancaster County and as a field director with the Republican Party of Pennsylvania. @TowerForPA