Unions take their members dues and use it, in part, to buy off politicians. That’s hardly news. Politicians doing favors for unions is also not news. California has decided, via AB 158, to be open and indirectly subsidize those same unions via a refundable tax credit for dues paid to said unions.
“Consequently, this new law could run afoul of the First Amendment’s free speech protection. The Supreme Court ruled in 2018 in Janus v. AFSCME that public sector unions are inherently political and thus states cannot force their employees to pay public employee union dues.
“California politicians and public sector unions likely think they’ve found a workaround—forcibly extracting union dues from taxpayers instead of workers. But that’s arguably an even more atrocious free speech violation, because politicians are forcing taxpayers to fund the political speech of a private organization that they are prohibited from joining.”
Certainly not the taxpayers or any business that has to subsidize their own opposition.
“Consider one possible scenario: California politicians agree to $10,000 wage increases for public employees, unions increase workers’ dues by $1,000 (since they just delivered $10,000 wage gains), taxpayers pay for roughly $333 of that increase (the exact amount is to be determined), and then unions spend $500 of those additional dues on politicians’ campaigns and the other $500 on their own personal benefits (including political causes that gain them power and money).
“It’s a win-win-win for everyone who has a seat at the table.
“Public sector employees: plus $9,333.
“Union bosses: plus $500.
“Politicians: plus $500.
“And a giant loss for those excluded from negotiations who have to foot the bill.
“Taxpayers: minus $10,333.
“Moreover, while taxpayers don’t directly pay the compensation of private sector union members, they are nevertheless affected by their political activities. Unions were the source, for example, of California’s AB 5 law that’s cost thousands of California independent contractors their livelihoods and contributed to an estimated quarter of a million people leaving the state last year alone.”
The bill can be read here, or below:
California AB 158 (2022) by ThePoliticalHat