SALEM, OR -- A bill allowing public employees to conduct union-related work while on the clock, passed out of a State Senate committee, this week. HB 2016 would also permit unions to deduct dues without a written contract. SEIU 503 President Steven Demarest told a House committee in March, "Most of the language in this bill simply formalizes, in statute, agreements and best practices that are already widely accepted," adding, "I urge you to pass House Bill 2016 in order to clarify existing law and precedent, and to codify in state law best practices that are in the best interests of employees, employers, and the public."
But Aaron Withe, Oregon Director of the Freedom Foundation, says the bill is a clear conflict of interest because everything a union does is inherently political. He believes HB 2016 is, essentially, a union wish list. "It changes state law in a multitude of ways. Everything that it does exists to try and give unions continual power." Withe tells KBND News the bill doesn't protect employees who don't want to be in the union and makes it harder for them to opt-out or keep their information private. He believes the bill will pass, with the Democrat majority, but says the Freedom Foundation will continue to fight union overreach, because, "They have over 66% of the politicians in the capitol on their campaign payroll." He says, "What we will do is we will legally challenge it, because we believe there are some parts to the bill that are illegal." Withe says HB 2016 is in direct opposition to the 2018 U.S. Supreme Court Janus decision.
The Senate Committee on Workforce agreed on a few amendments to the bill before approving it Tuesday, sending it to the Senate floor for a vote.