By ANDREW CLINE, president of Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy
CONCORD – Last year’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Janus v. AFCSME triggered a 5.9% reduction in New Hampshire state employee union membership, state payroll data obtained by the Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy show. The sudden drop reversed a years-long trend of rising union enrollment.
Prior to the Janus decision, New Hampshire was one of 22 states plus the District of Columbia that forced non-union employees to pay union fees. The Supreme Court in Janus forbade states from collecting those fees. New Hampshire halted this “agency fee” collection immediately after the ruling in June of last year.
In the 12 months that followed, state employee unions collectively lost 420 members, or 5.9% of their enrollment. The vast majority of those losses (92.4%, or 388 members) came from the State Employees Association, according to state payroll figures.
Payroll data, which the Josiah Bartlett Center obtained through a right-to-know request, show that state employee unions had grown steadily in the five years before the Janus decision, adding an average of 184 members a year.
Twelve months after Janus, nearly half of those membership gains had been wiped out.
“Clearly, the existence of unconstitutional agency fees had inflated union membership,” Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy President Andrew Cline said.
The so-called “agency fees” were collected by the state on behalf of unions on the theory that collective bargaining agreements benefitted all employees.
The Supreme Court concluded in Janus that agency fee collection “violates the free speech rights of nonmembers by compelling them to subsidize private speech on matters of substantial public concern.”
Payroll data obtained by the Josiah Bartlett Center show that from 2013-2018, state employee unions gained 922 dues-paying members. In no year did union membership drop.
Then, in the fiscal year following the Janus decision, state employee unions lost 422 dues-paying members, or 45% of the enrollment they had gained during the previous five years.
The Josiah Bartlett Center’s full report on the Janus drop can be found online here: https://jbartlett.org/2019/10/janus-ruling-reversed-years-long-growth-in-state-employee-union-membership/