New House bills target unions again

As part of the continued legislative attack on public school employees and their unions, the House introduced a four-bill package (HB 5023-5026) that deals with strikes, picketing, dues deduction and the hiring of scabs. The bills were referred to the House Committee on Oversight, Reform and Ethics.

HB 5023 (Lyons, R-Alto) imposes a fine of a day’s pay for each day an employee is on strike while the employee union is fined $5,000 a day. According to Lyons, the brief strike at CMU and MEA’s “strike vote” are the impetus for the legislation.

HB 5024 continues the attack on unions by prohibiting picketers from blocking entrances or roadways leading to a business and the picketing of private residences —restrictions already in place. Businesses or persons being picketed could seek an injunction from their local circuit court—a move by CMU administration and shot down in court. Fines of $1,000 per day for individuals or $10,000 per day for unions would be imposed.

HB 5025 (Soleski, R-Jackson) requires annual written consent from employees to have payroll deduction of their union dues.

HB 5026 frees an employer in a labor dispute from having to admit in an employment ad that they’re looking for “scabs.”

These bills are just more of the same attacks on collective bargaining rights, union activities and free speech. Some legislators are getting bolder in their targeting of public employees and their unions. They don’t hide their intentions—they brazenly call out public school employees, local associations, and MEA. Their actions are political payback in its truest sense. And they don’t create one job!

MEA is reviewing this new legislation.