MIDLAND, Mich., March 21, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- The Mackinac Center for Public Policy today launched My Pay My Say, a national awareness and educational effort to government workers who are currently compelled to pay their public unions as a condition of employment. On February 26th, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Janus vs. AFSCME, a First Amendment case that could end the practice of forced fees paid by government employees to a public union for approximately 5 million workers nationwide. The Court is expected to announce a decision by the end of June of this year.
The interim months can be disconcerting for these millions of employees. Public unions are already making premature assumptions about the direction of the Court's decision, engaging in state legislative and misleading communications efforts aimed at circumventing the Court's authority. My Pay My Say steps into this gap, calling attention to these preemptive actions, while providing workers with clarity and access to transparent information. This campaign will tell workers about their rights and provide them with the full range of options about union membership.
"Janus fundamentally is about whether public sector employees are entitled to the same First Amendment right to free speech as everyone else. This case will determine whether government employees can be compelled to financially support their public union as a condition of employment" said Patrick J. Wright, vice president for legal affairs at the Mackinac Center. "Unfortunately, we cannot rely on organized labor to accurately communicate to public employees how they may be impacted by this Supreme Court ruling or developing changes to state legislative policies, and that is why My Pay My Say is so critically important."
Mark Janus is an Illinois state government employee who does not want to be forced to pay his union as part of his job requirements. The case is similar to Friedrichs vs. CTA, a 2015 case in which the Court deadlocked 4-4 following the passing of Justice Antonin Scalia.
My Pay My Say is desperately needed," added Rebecca Friedrichs, a veteran California teacher, plaintiff in Friedrichs vs. CTA, and founder of For Kids and Country. Whether the Janus case is successful or not, there are hundreds of thousands of union members who need access to transparent information on their rights in unionized workplaces. Even as a union representative, I was unable to gain access to the critical information necessary to understand my rights because my union made the process confusing - and my experience is not unique. Government employees and educators like me need to know there's an entire network composed of informed workers and organizations working tirelessly to provide timely and accessible resources and support. My Pay My Say is an essential resource."
My Pay My Say will educate the public about the ramifications of this landmark case in four key ways:
- Resource for public sector union members seeking clarity and guidance;
- Data on the changing legislative landscape in the impacted states and how that will impact members anticipating the Supreme Court's ruling in Janus;
- Source for the public seeking to understand the experiences of aggrieved public sector union members;
- Information for the media looking to hear from concerned government employees, as well as those seeking analysis from policy and legal experts, such as Patrick Wright.
"Since our founding over thirty years ago, the Mackinac Center has fought for the individual liberties of rank-and-file union members in our home state of Michigan and beyond," said Lindsay Boyd Killen, the organization's vice president for strategic outreach and communications. "We believe that every employee that stands to be impacted by a Supreme Court ruling in Janus vs. AFSCME should have a resource they can turn to for clear, reliable and accessible information — My Pay My Say provides that critical support network that workers deserve."
In 2012, Michigan became a right-to-work state. The Mackinac Center led the effort to inform public employees of their rights through legal support, an awareness and outreach campaign, and engagement in legislative affairs. In the past five years, the Center has reached more than 100,000 government workers, launched several lawsuits on behalf of school employees, and taken thousands of phone calls from concerned public workers.
More on the initiative can found at mypaymysay.com.
SOURCE My Pay My Say