Post-Janus Protections Pass House, Sent to Governor’s Desk

Almost three years after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that unions collecting fees from non-members violated their First Amendment right to free speech in the Janus v. AFSCME Council 31 case, the Connecticut General Assembly passed SB 908 to protect the rights of public employees and public sector unions. The Senate passed the bill almost two weeks ago. The House of Representatives followed suit Tuesday night, despite heavy pushback from the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities and the Connecticut Council of Small Towns with a vote of 90-54-7.

Wealthy individuals and corporations profit greatly from an economy that benefits the privileged and the powerful. For decades, they have tried to undermine workers’ rights and their ability to collectively bargain by advancing so-called “right to work” laws to disempower unions and make it harder for workers to organize. “Right to work” laws allow workers who decide not to be a part of a union to fully benefit from union representation—including higher wages, benefits, training, safety and protection from unfair discipline—without having to pay union dues.

In Janus v. AFSCME Council 31, the U.S. Supreme Court made all public employees “right to work.” SB 908 protects public employees and public sector unions in the post-Janus era by requiring public employers to:

  • Provide access to orientations for new employee to allow the union to inform workers of their rights, benefits, duties and responsibilities;
  • Provide bargaining unit lists and contact information so that the union can service its members;
  • Clarify the authorization process for employee payroll deductions;
  • Allow unions to meet with members during work hours to discuss grievances, complaints and other issues; and
  • Refrain from deterring or discouraging public employees from becoming or remaining members of a union.

The bill now goes to the Governor’s desk for his signature.