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‘Sticking With the Union’ in Face of Janus Ruling, AFT’s Weingarten Tells Senate Dems (Read Mo

July 11, 2018
CAROLYN PHENICIE

Washington, D.C.

A defiant Randi Weingarten told a panel of sympathetic Senate Democrats this week that public-sector unions are not withering in the face of a recent Supreme Court decision that declared mandatory dues unconstitutional.

“What we are seeing is an amazing sense from our members that they are sticking with the union. Something has shifted in the last few weeks and months. I, frankly, in the 20 years, the 25 years of union advocacy that I have done, I have never seen what I am seeing right now,” Weingarten, who heads the 1.7 million–member American Federation of Teachers, said at the Tuesday hearing.

The Supreme Court two weeks ago ruled in Janus v. AFSCME that compelling dissenting public-sector employees to pay so-called agency fees violated their First Amendment rights. The 5-4 decision overturned long-standing precedent, which allowed dissenting members not to pay the portion of their dues that covered their union’s political activities but required them to support the costs of collective bargaining and other shared benefits. In addition to losing revenue from dissenters, it’s expected that unions will also see some full-fledged members drop out once freed from the mandatory portion of their dues.

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