HB 582 is making its way through the General Assembly, with no debate or discussion. This bill deals with collective bargaining by repealing “the existing prohibition on collective bargaining by public employees.”
Furthermore, “the measure repeals a provision enacted in 2013 that declares that, in any procedure providing for the designation, selection, or authorization of a labor organization to represent employees, the right of an individual employee to vote by secret ballot is a fundamental right that shall be guaranteed from infringement.”
With the sponsor of the bill, Delegate Elizabeth Guzman, declining to answer questions about it during session, it may have opened itself up to a First Amendment, challenge should it pass.
Jacob Huebert, a Senior Attorney at the Goldwater Institute and one of the attorneys who represented Mark Janus before SCOTUS in Janus v. AFSCME, 138 S. Ct. 2448 (2018), wrote a warning letter to House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn expressing his concerns:
“I am writing this letter to advise you that the provision of HB 582 that would give unions exclusive control of workers’ payroll deduction authorizations violates the First Amendment under Janus.”
“In Janus, the Supreme Court ruled that the government may not deduct dues or any other payment to a union from a worker’s paycheck “unless the employee affirmatively consents to pay.” Janus, 138 S. Ct. at 2486.”
“The Court stated that a union dues authorization is a waiver of a worker’s First Amendment right not to support the union, and that waiver “must be freely given and shown by ‘clear and compelling’ evidence. The payroll deduction provisions in § 40.1-57.9(B) of HB 582 do not comply with this requirement.”