Legislators Mount Another Attack on Workers’ Paychecks

Share This

Kansas Senate bring failed Janus bill back for fourth try

Monday, 14 March, 2022

Topeka, KS – The Kansas Senate has introduced SB 511 - a word-for-word copy of last year’s HB 2354 - to try once again to tell Kansas workers what to do with their money. The state legislature has failed every year since 2018 to pass this unpopular, unnecessary bill due to overwhelming opposition from workers, businesses, and organized labor. AFT Kansas opposes this bill yet again.

SB 511’s purpose is to attack frontline workers in the most vulnerable moment of their careers as public servants. It is a blatant attempt to silence workers’ voices to fight for better and safer working conditions, better wages, and a better life for our families.

This bill does not give workers more rights. Instead, it violates both our freedom of choice and our freedom of speech. It is bad for our democracy, bad for the working people of Kansas, and bad for our communities.

This bill solves no problems. Instead, it creates a logistical mess for both employees and employers right as we need them to maintain their focus on keeping Kansans safe. No one, worker or supervisor, is interested in additional, burdensome legislative mandates.

This bill is not Kansas legislation. It was not requested by Kansas workers. All previous attempts at passing this bill have failed and were opposed by every labor organization in the state, including KNEA, Kansas State Lodge Fraternal Order of Police, IBEW, Kansas State Council of Firefighters, AFL-CIO, AFT-Kansas and KOSE, the Working Kansas Alliance, and the Teamsters. Opponent testimony to HB 2354 last year also came from the Kansas State Legislative Board, the Department of Administration, the city of Wichita, the unified government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City KS, and the League of Kansas Municipalities.

Unions are entrusted by Kansas law with the responsibility of representing these covered employees whether or not they pay dues to our organizations — since 1958, the Kansas constitution has been clear that dues are strictly voluntary. Because so many members do, in fact, elect to join the union and volunteer a part of their paycheck, we have been able to proudly and effectively fulfill these representational duties for over sixty years.

In 2018, the Supreme Court ruled in Janus v. AFSCME that dues to public employee unions must be voluntary in all states, not just in those states, like Kansas, that had elected to do so. This decision changed nothing in Kansas. The proponents of this bill say that its intent is to bring the state into compliance with the court’s ruling in Janus, but is in reality an attack on workers and on organized labor.