The following is a press release from the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office:
BOSTON – Today, July 3, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey issued an advisory reaffirming public employee rights and employer obligations under state law in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent ruling in Janus v. AFSCME Council 31.
In the 5 to 4 ruling, the Court overturned decades of law and practice relating to the right of a union to require the payment of fair share agency fees from public sector employees, who decline union membership.
“I vehemently disagree with the court’s decision, but our state’s well-established labor laws remain unchanged,” said Healey. “My office will always act to protect working families, ensure safe working conditions, and defend the right of workers to organize.”
The advisory highlights existing state laws that protect employee rights to organize and to act collectively, free of interference or discrimination by an employer.
It also clarifies that the decision has no effect on existing membership agreements between a union and its members regarding union dues and does not change any laws that protect access to public employee’s personal information.
The Janus decision only impacts the payment of an agency service fee by individuals who decline union membership.
Under the ruling, public employers may not deduct agency fees from a non-member’s wages without the employee’s affirmative consent.
Workers who believe their rights to join or form a union have been violated may contact the Massachusetts Department of Labor Relations at (617) 626-7132 or visit www.mass.gov/dlr.
Workers who believe their right to earned wages has been violated may call the AG Office’s Fair Labor Division Hotline, 617-727-3465 or go to the Attorney General’s Workplace Rights website www.mass.gov/ago/fairlabor.