BOSTON, MASS. — He’s once again choosing public sector unions over the people who pay their members’ salaries and benefits.
The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employee (AFSCME) union is holding its convention in Boston this week, and New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy who was born in Needham, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston, was a speaker.
True to form, the New Jersey liberal struck a decidedly anti-taxpayer, pro-public sector union note and heavily criticized the Supreme Court’s recent Janus v. AFSCME decision, accusing SCOTUS of attempt to ‘undermine the rights of unions.’
“So long as I am governor – and, I hope, for years after I leave office – New Jersey will continue to stand in support of workers’ rights, and the rights of unions to act on their behalf,” said Murphy, citing the Orwellian-sounding “Workplace Democracy Enhancement Act” which, as explained by our guest contributor Maureen Sullivan, was preemptively adopted by New Jersey Democrats to blunt the Janus’s decisions impact back in New Jersey.
These measures include likely unconstitutional restrictions on workers’ rights including limiting the time they can opt out of union membership dues, annually, to 10 days.
But Murphy didn’t stop at critiquing justices and boosting his own administration; he took a swipe at two other U.S. states, one of which remains an important electoral battleground.
“My state is not Wisconsin. We’re not Oklahoma. We’re New Jersey – and the trend of ripping the heat out of collective bargaining will come to a full stop at our state line,” he added.
In its Janus decision, the High Court’s designated author was a New Jersey native (unlike Phil Murphy), Justice Samuel Alito, who spoke for the majority in holding that
“…[s]tates and public-sector unions may no longer extract agency fees from nonconsenting employees. The First Amendment is violated when money is taken from nonconsenting employees for a public-sector union; employees must choose to support the union before anything is taken from them. Accordingly, neither an agency fee nor any other form of payment to a public-sector union may be deducted from an employee, nor may any other attempt be made to collect such a payment, unless the employee affirmatively consents to pay.”