Alaska Governor Releases Pro-Worker Order as Union Revenue Falls

Posted by Olivia Grady on Tuesday, October 1st, 2019 at 3:22 pm - Permalink

Yesterday, Ken Girardin, policy analyst at the Empire Center, tweeted that dues revenue for the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) had dropped 10% since the 2018 Janus v. AFSCME decision.

Janus was a landmark decision that restored the First Amendment rights of state government workers. The U.S. Supreme Court decided in Janus that state government workers who chose not to join a union would no longer be required to pay agency fees to unions unless they affirmatively agree to pay. In addition, states cannot automatically deduct union dues from a worker’s paycheck unless the state has “clear and compelling evidence” that the worker has authorized the deduction. 

Since the decision, policy analysts on both sides of the issue have been trying to determine the impact of Janus on union revenue by looking at the LM-2 forms that unions are required to complete.

Girardin looked at the 2018 LM-2 of the AFT and found that the union collected about $197 million in per capita taxes in 2017. A per capita tax is the amount of worker dues an intermediate or parent union receives from a local or subordinate union. In 2019, however, the union reported that it collected about $179 million from workers in 2018. This is a 10% drop.

Similarly, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) also had a drop in revenue from workers’ dues. In 2018, the union reported receiving about $186 million from workers’ dues. In 2019, though, AFSCME’s report says the union received about $181 million in dues.

Unfortunately, the National Education Association (NEA) has not submitted its 2019 LM-2 form yet. It is difficult, therefore, to determine how the Janus case has affected the NEA.

However, it seems fairly clear that unions are losing dues from the Janus decision, but not as much as some imagined. That is mostly to do with the fact that Governors have not taken the steps to ensure that their state is complying with Janus.

In fact, it is Alaska Governor Michael Dunleavy (R) and Alaska Attorney General Kevin Clarkson (R) who are leading in ensuring that the First Amendment rights of their state government workers are not being trampled.

Governor Dunleavy on September 26th announced an administrative order to bring Alaska into compliance with Janus after Attorney General Clarkson released an opinion on August 27th, concluding that Alaska was not in compliance with Janus.

The order supports Alaskan workers by directing the Alaska Department of Administration to create an opt-in system where state workers could allow the state to deduct union dues by written form or online. Alaska workers, however, could change their decision at any time.  

Americans for Tax Reform and the Center for Worker Freedom strongly encourage other Governors to follow the example of Governor Dunleavy and create an opt-in program for their state government workers.