In his Feb. 15 op-ed, “Is this it for public-sector unions?,” Charles Lane found almost every possible way to misrepresent what public-service workers and their unions are all about.
Public-service unions represent all employees in a bargaining unit after a majority of the workers select the union to serve as their representative. Fair-share fees help cover the cost of that representation. By speaking of “automatic dues” and suggesting that fee-payers have a First Amendment grievance, Mr. Lane swallowed whole the plaintiff’s baseless free-speech argument in Janus v. AFSCME. No one is forced to join a union, embrace a political party or contribute to a candidate.
The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees has devoted the past few years to an internal organizing plan, leading to unprecedented member-to-member engagement through more than 800,000 one-on-one conversations.
But it is not public-service workers exercising their freedom to stand in a strong union, fighting for a seat at the table for fair pay and safer, healthier communities, who have put Illinois or any other state on a path to financial ruin. The politicians who want to slash public services and crush unions are busting budgets with extravagant tax breaks.
Robbing sanitation workers and corrections officers of a decent living while lavishing more tax breaks on corporations and billionaires is the real problem, a problem made far worse if the court rules against working people.
Lee Saunders, Washington
The writer is president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.