New Hampshire state employees who don’t wish to join a union will save more than $1 million a year in compulsory union fees following the U.S. Supreme Court’s June ruling in Janus vs. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, according to data obtained by the Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy through a state right-to-know request. 

Collective bargaining agreements with the state have long forced non-union employees to pay so-called “agency fees” to public-sector unions if the union membership reached at least 50 percent of eligible employees in an employee’s unit. In Janus, the Supreme Court held that the “extraction of agency fees from nonconsenting public-sector employees violates the First Amendment.”

On June 27, the date of the Janus ruling, 2,161 New Hampshire state employees were unconstitutionally being compelled to pay more than $1 million in agency fees to unions they chose not to join, according to state data. 

The state collected $37,913.60 per paycheck from these 2,161 non-union employees, diverting an annual total of $1,012,055.83 from their paychecks to the State Employees Association and the Teamsters. 

Employees never saw this money. It was given directly to the unions, even though these employees opted not to become union members.

“Not only did New Hampshire state employees have their First Amendment rights at long last protected by the Janus ruling, but they will have their take-home pay increased by more than $1 million a year,” Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy President Andrew Cline said. “From now on, public-sector unions will no longer get to take that money without the employee’s consent. To claim it, they will have to convince state employees of the value of union services.”

On an annualized basis, agency fees represented 19.5 percent of the $5,190,883.13 state employees were contractually obligated to pay unions as of June 27, state records show. Unions were to collect $4,178,827.38 in dues from 7,051 full-and part-time union members in addition to $1,012,055.83 in agency fees from 2,161 non-union employees. 

Four unions hold collective bargaining contracts to represent state employees. Each contract includes an agency fee clause that allows the union to collect fees from employees who have chosen not to join the union. State payroll records show that two unions, the State Employees Association and the Teamsters, were collecting agency fees as of the Janus ruling. 

The state’s payroll system shows no agency fee code for payments to the New England Police Benevolent Association or the New Hampshire Troopers Association. All payments to those unions are coded as member dues.  

The payroll records show that through unconstitutional contracts that allowed the state to collect union fees from non-members, public-sector unions in New Hampshire were able to inflate their budgets by nearly 1/5 and their number of financial contributors by nearly 1/3. The number of non-union employees compelled to pay agency fees was equivalent to 30 percent of union membership.

The state’s collective bargaining contracts did more than violate the free speech rights of non-union state employees. By shifting more than $1 million annually from non-union employees to unions, the contracts significantly enhanced the power of the unions while weakening the power of individual state employees who did not wish to join a union. 

Now, individual state employees will have greater leverage when deciding whether to join a union. The choice of whether any of their pay goes to support the union is theirs and theirs alone.

The full data obtained from the state is here: State employee dues and agency fees 6-27-2018.

The Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy is a non-profit, non-partisan, independent  think tank focused on state and local public policy issues that affect the quality of life for New Hampshire’s citizens. The Center has as its core beliefs individual freedom and responsibility, limited and accountable government, and an appreciation of the role of the free enterprise system. The Center seeks to promote policy that supports these beliefs by providing information, research, and analysis.