It's been quite a week for government union reformers. As our readers know, the Institute has long been a supporter of Paycheck Protection laws, which are modest but important laws ensuring that government workers have more control over their union dues money. Well, on XXXXX a House version was voted through by the Senate, but also amended to it was a more extensive government union transparency measure which we have also talked about.
That's not just very good. That's excellent. Let me tell you why.
The amended bill represents one of the most comprehensive government union reform packages that we've seen since Wisconsin engaged the unions in 2011. As currently written, the legislation would require unions to produce financial reports that private unions already have to make to the federal government; have public meetings when they negotiate contracts with unions; and have regular recertification votes to determine who, if anyone, will have the privilege to represent workers in those discussions. Paycheck Protection fits together with these reforms seamlessly, acting effectively as an informal, individual recertification vote that operates in addition to the formal, institutional votes of the certification process itself; in other words, even if other workers want a union to negotiate for them, no worker would be forced to pay for that service if they didn't want to.
Assuming no further amendments, an affirmative vote in the House on the bill almost guarantees that the bill will become law, given Governor Eric Greitens' support of labor reform efforts this year. That said, we should not view passage as inevitable; a lot of hard work remains to be done to secure final passage, so reformers should not pat themselves on the back just yet. Stay tuned.