Vermont Senate Committee passes anti-right to work legislation
With Missouri, Pennsylvania and other states threatening to go the “Right-to-Work” route this year, Vermont stands out as one of the few states setting the opposite example. With what might be described as an “Anti-Right-to-Work” law, Vermont’s Senate Committee on Economic Development voted 5-0 to introduce a “Fair Share Bill” which would require state workers grandfathered out of paying “agency fees” to do so. Those fees go towards costs associated with negotiating and enforcing contracts as well as representation during grievances. They do not, however, go towards political activities.
The bill, S.14, is aimed at ensuring that all those who receive the benefits of union representation pay their fair share into the bargaining process. According to the Vermont Progressive Party,
S.14 as introduced states, “This bill proposes to require payment of agency fees by teachers, school administrators, and municipal employees who are not members of a labor organization recognized as the exclusive bargaining agent. In addition, it would confirm explicitly that agency fees cannot be used for any purpose other than in connection with collective bargaining.”
Legislation sponsor Sen Philip Baruth told Vermont Public Radio,
“What this bill seeks to say is that no one will be forced to join a union after this bill goes through the process for good or ill. What it will say is that no one from this point forward would be allowed to avoid paying anything into the system,” he said. “If you enjoy the benefits of your union and collective bargaining you will have to pay a percentage of what a fully paid up member of the union would pay.”