Recently, Newsmax published an op-ed by National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix, highlighting a case from Alaska pending at the U.S. Supreme Court. In the case the State of Alaska seeks protect the First Amendment rights of public employees under the Foundation-won 2018 Janus v. AFSCME decision, by requiring an affirmative waiver before state agencies deduct any union dues:
If you’ve ever watched a television show featuring law enforcement, you probably know these words by heart, “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law…”
Such a “Miranda” warning ends the following way, “Do you understand the rights I have just read to you? With these rights in mind, do you wish to speak to me?”
Police “Mirandize” suspects because, although a citizen can waive a constitutional right they have, the government cannot assume that such a right has been waived.
Miranda warnings protect citizens’ Fifth Amendment rights, but the principle applies to any constitutional right. (See Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 1966).
The State of Alaska has recently asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear a case about Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s attempt to apply this principle to protect the First Amendment rights of state employees.
Five years ago, National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation staff attorneys argued and won the landmark Janus v. AFSCME case at the U.S. Supreme Court.
That decision established that the First Amendment prohibits government unions from requiring that public employees pay union dues and fees without their explicit and informed consent.
In the wake of Janus, the State of Alaska was among the first jurisdictions to proactively enforce the decision.
Citing Janus, Gov. Dunleavy issued an executive order directing state officials not to deduct union dues from the paychecks of public employees, unless the state has clear evidence that a worker has knowingly waived their First Amendment Janus rights.
Dunleavy set up a system that required such proof be submitted annually as a condition of the state continuing to deduct union dues.
The state cannot assume state employees want to waive their rights indefinitely: Talking to a police officer voluntarily years ago is not evidence of waiving Fifth Amendment rights in perpetuity.
Despite the straightforward justification, not to mention the fact that Dunleavy’s order doesn’t prevent a single worker from having dues deducted voluntarily, government union bosses in Alaska were livid…
Find the rest of the op-ed online on the website of Newsmax here.