Lawmakers Send Governor Bill to Help Public Worker Unions


BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts lawmakers have sent a bill to Republican Gov. Charlie Baker’s desk that would give the state’s public labor unions a little relief from a 2018 Supreme Court ruling that threatened to weaken their finances and political clout.

The bill would let unions representing public workers charge non-members costs associated with representing them through the grievance process. It was given final approval Wednesday in the Democratic-controlled House and Senate.

The bill is a response to the high court’s 5-4 decision that found government workers can’t be forced to contribute to labor unions. Labor supporters said the ruling empowers free-loaders to profit off of the backs of dues-paying workers.

A Baker spokeswoman said he’ll review the bill. Baker said Monday his biggest concern has been around confidentiality and personal privacy issues.

“The State Senate reaffirmed our support of public sector unions by restoring their ability to be compensated for the work they do to protect the rights of non-union workers,” said Cape and Islands State Senator Julian Cyr (D-Truro).

It would be left up to the organizations’ discretion whether or not they charge workers who do not pay union dues.

“Asking non-union workers to provide a fair share to cover the cost of union representation will help remedy the blow to organized labor that the U.S. Supreme Court allowed last year. This is a step in the right direction. The Massachusetts Legislature respects the good work public sector unions do to fight for fair wages, health care benefits, and workplace protections—we couldn’t allow the anti-union Supreme Court decision to stand here in the Commonwealth,” continued Cyr.

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