The Massachusetts House of Representatives will take up a bill before the July 4 holiday to aid local labor unions affected by a U.S. Supreme Court decision that cut deeply into their pocketbooks, according to a spokesperson for House Speaker Robert DeLeo.
In last year's Janus v. AFSCME decision, the Supreme Court ruled that labor unions can't charge fees in lieu of dues to non-member workers who refuse to join the union. As a result, unions lost a key revenue stream and the ability for non-member workers to become so-called "free riders" on union services expanded.
The bill Speaker Robert DeLeo plans to push through the House in June would let Massachusetts unions charge non-members for legal aid they benefit from in arbitration cases, restoring some of the cash flow lost under the Janus decision.
Leaders of the state's top labor groups appeared before the Legislature's Labor Committee last month to push for the bill
"The initiative before you seeks only to amend our state labor statute to reflect the new reality and landscape of long-standing legal precedent on agency service fees that Janus eliminated. It's time to pass this critical legislation," AFL-CIO president Steven Tolman told the committee, according to the State House News Service.
An effort to pass a similar measure failed last year at the close of the Legislature's session.
The pro-union bill comes as tensions mount between Labor and the House over the pace of lawmaking on Beacon Hill for legislation on school funding and laborer wage theft. A "Janus fix" bill is a priority of organized labor at the State House.
Opponents of the bill say the bill would go much farther than the what the status quo was before Janus by providing union leaders with personal contact information for employees that opt out of union membership.
"This bill opens the door wide open to harassment and intimidation, and if passed, the worker is less secure as a result," said Paul Craney, spokesman for the anti-union Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance.