Janus and Fair Share Fees

Over the last decade, a number of cases attacking the rights of public-sector union members have been quietly working their way through the courts and, finally, up to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The most recent of these challenges is Janus v. AFSCME Council 31, which the U.S. Supreme Court will hear on February 26. If the court rules for Janus, it will likely have the most significant impact on workers’ freedom to organize and bargain collectively in 70 years.
Janus is the third case to come before the Supreme Court in five years involving public-sector unions’ ability to collect “fair share” (or “agency”) fees. As this report will show, Janus, and the two fair share cases that preceded it, did not grow from an organic, grassroots challenge to union representation. Rather, the fair share cases are being financed by a small group of foundations with ties to the largest and most powerful corporate lobbies. These organizations and the policymakers they support have succeeded in advancing a policy agenda that weakens the bargaining power of workers. In Janus, these interests have focused their attack on public-sector workers—the workforce with the highest union density.
We examine the core group of organizations financing this litigation. By tracing the origins of these legal challenges, and explaining how the challenges target unions, we show that challenging fair share fees in the courts appears to be part of a broader billionaire-financed agenda to weaken unions and shift power away from ordinary workers.
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CT State Pension plans

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Raises Set to Begin For Many State Employees

For those state employee bargaining units that voted in favor of the 2011 SEBAC agreement, raises are set to begin August 26th and should show up in the September 20th paycheck. The 2011 SEBAC agreement provides (3%) increase plus step increases, annual increments (or their equivalent) in those units that have them as part of their collective bargaining agreement for FY 2013-14, FY 2014-15 and FY 2015-16.

These raises are happening at a time when other workers around the state are facing a sluggish economy and many in the private sector are facing the potential for layoffs. It is important to remember that these raises come after two years of wage freezes and other concessions that state employees agreed to during the darkest fiscal period in a generation in order to help the State of Connecticut balance its budget. These past few years of wage freezes have been difficult, but state employees are now set to receive 9% in wage increases over the next 3 years.  Typically, these wage increases would happen on July 1st, but the wage increases for FY 2013-14 have been delayed by 3 pay periods due to wage increases paid to employees in FY 2011-12 prior to ratification of the 2011 agreement.

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