NFIB, the leading advocacy organization representing small business, joined the Pacific Legal Foundation and the Mackinac Center for Public Policy in filing an amicus brief supporting faculty members of the University of Massachusetts in their appeal before the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts. The faculty members challenged the requirement that they pay union fees to a National Education Association affiliate for collective bargaining and join the union if they want to have any input in workplace decisions (Branch, et al. v. Commonwealth Employment Relations Board).
“Compulsory union fees for state workers have allowed the public employee unions to gather massive cash reserves used to wield political power in the states, and that silences other voices,” said Karen Harned, executive director of the NFIB Small Business Legal Center. “No one should be forced to pay union fees when they don’t agree with the policies or the politics the union is pushing. And its flat-out wrong to withhold rights from employees who choose not to join the union.”
“Small business owners are concerned about public employee unions promoting policies that drive up labor costs and create rules that tie the hands of job creators,” said NIFB’s Massachusetts State Director, Christopher Carlozzi. “Recently unions were involved in successfully pushing for a $15 minimum wage and a new expanded paid family and medical leave in Massachusetts. And, their overly-generous state employee pensions have resulted in higher taxes for all state taxpayers.”
The U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled in Janus v. AFSCME that compulsory union fees are unconstitutional. Accordingly, the amicus brief argued that public employers might not punish employees who refuse to join a union by withholding their rights.
The Massachusetts Supreme Court is expected to hear arguments in the case in January.