The Death of Government Unions?

Craig Huey Government, Congress, and Politics 3 Comments

Government-employee unions are struggling financially.


Because of last year’s Supreme Court decision in Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. We wrote about that historic case here.

For years, powerful government-employee unions have given millions of dollars of member dues to political causes many members don’t believe in.

For years, these unions they have used their power, money and employees for political action.

But no longer can they automatically extract money from government employees through coercion. They are losing money – though they still have lots of it.

The Supreme Court ruling in Janus said public-sector unions could no longer force government employees who opt out of joining their union to pay partial union dues.

As a result, two of the largest public-sector unions in the country lost more than 210,000 so-called “agency-fee members” last year:

  • The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) – the defendant in the Janus case – lost 98% of its agency-fee-paying members.
  • The Service Employees International Union (SEIU), lost 94% of its agency-fee-paying members.

AFSCME reported having 112,233 agency-fee payers (compared to 1.3 million dues-paying members), but that number dropped to just 2,215 in the union’s 2018 report.

The SEIU reported having 104,501 agency-fee payers in 2017 (compared to 1,919,358 dues-paying members), but just 5,812 at the end of 2018.

In terms of lost revenue, AFSCME reported a $4.1 million drop in 2018. The SEIU reported a gain; however, Bloomberg Law reported that some 2017 revenue was reported in 2018 due to “accounting lags.”

Overall union membership levels have remained roughly the same since the Janus ruling – which means most full-fledged members decided to stay with their unions even after Janus opened the door for them to leave.

Non-members almost unanimously wanted to stop paying the so-called “agency fee” – that part of union dues supposedly used to provide collective bargaining services only … and not used to engage in political activity.

The Janus case was important for worker freedom. Individuals who choose to support a union can continue doing so … and those who don’t want to fund union activities are no longer forced to do so.

What do you think? Email me at

Here are the rest of this week’s articles:

Comments 3

  1. What great news Craig —-

    ” The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) – the defendant in the Janus case – lost 98% of its agency-fee-paying members.
    The Service Employees International Union (SEIU), lost 94% of its agency-fee-paying members.”

    It couldn’t happen at a better time to a finer group corrupt Lefty unions and their joined-at-the-hip Lefty Dem politicians.

    John Moore

  2. Hi Craig,

    Does this apply to nurses as well or is it only for government employees? I would love to pull out of our union membership.

  3. This is wonderful news. In the beginning of my employment and before I retired, I was forced to pay union dues before I had even decided to become a member. I was told that there was “some law” in place that mandated that employees (LA county school district employees) had to pay union dues whether they were members or not. I didn’t feel right about this until I began to see the greed and corruption of the union leadership that was supposed to represent classified salaried employees like myself, and their aggressive political activism in backing candidates that I didn’t agrre with nor was I going to vote for. A group of employees (myself included) did try to fight this “so-called law” because we also were not getting quality representation against the management staff at my organization. The group also tried to secede and form its own “association” which had to be voted on by all the bargaining unit members. We had our vote but then lost by only 18–the union won only because they launched a massive guerilla-like take-over on the main campuses and outlying school sites and harassed the employees, using fear tactics and lies to get the employees to vote no on seceding to form an association that would have given the employees better representation and options on paying our dues.

    So, I’ve seen first-hand the way the union “henchman” operate regarding their members. Unions used to have an iron-fisted rule over their members but I had noticed even before Obama left office, that their rule began to decrease and their stronghold began to break. This is why I rejoice with all the members who wanted this change to happen–they can breathe again! Congratulations!

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