‘Orientation’ bill is first pre-emptive strike against Supreme Court - The state’s public-employee unions are among the most powerful interest groups in the Capitol, yet an effort to sneak some language into a bill during the last week of the legislative session shows the degree to which even these lobbies fear a coming rollback in their financial power. Efforts are underway to pass a “public employee orientation” mandate in which all newly hired public employees — including public-school employees and transit workers — must attend a program sponsored by the recognized local union. The “orientation” would take place during the workday. Employees would be required to show up in person. State taxpayers would pick up the costs.
Under proposed language, “The content of the recognized employee organization’s presentation shall be determined solely by the employee organization and shall not be subject to negotiation.” The unions are carving out a right to lobby new employees to join and pay dues.
Put aside obvious concern at this privilege or the gut-and-amend process that would have it move along without normal hearings. This is the real eye-opener: Public employee unions haven’t had mandated orientations because they don’t need them. Newly hired workers must already pay dues to the recognized union.
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