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Public sector unions in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s Janus decision

June 28, 2018

The Supreme Court’s recent Janus vs. AFSCME decision will close a door on public sector union funding. Government employees will no longer be forced to have fees deducted from their paychecks to fund union operations.

When one door closes, however, people may try to open other ones.

As some astute commentators have noted, the Janus decision may not necessarily be all that meaningful for union strength.  For example, some have asserted that state and local governments may replace these funds with things like direct government spending on union operations.

Taking the coercion away from government employees, and replacing it with more coercion for the rest of us.

Going forward it will be very interesting to watch the overall effect on organized labor’s strength and representation. We include a variety of organized labor statistics in Truth in Accounting’s State Data Lab website resource, including data drawing on the work by folks at Georgia State University’s facility.

Looking across the 50 states, you can see that the share of the public sector workforce covered by collective bargaining agreements varies widely across the 50 states. And as a general rule, states with high union representation tend to be in worse financial condition, according to our Taxpayer Burden measure. They also tend to show higher outmigration and lower economic growth.

The years ahead are going to be very interesting.

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