Federal government employees alarmed by the actions of President Donald Trump are increasingly turning to public service unions for workplace protection.
“The three largest unions have reported a surge in the number of dues-paying members since Trump’s election,” reported a new GovExec study.
Federal employee unions are banned by law from compelling dues, meaning the increase in membership represents workers making an optional choice.
“The American Federation of Government Employees, for instance, saw more new members sign up in the final two months of 2016 than during all of 2013,” GovExec noted.
That has translated into an additional 4,458 members in 2017.
The study also noted, “the National Federation of Federal Employees has traditionally seen 2 to 3 percent annual growth over the last 10 years, officials say they are on track for 7 percent growth in 2017.”
The growth in dues-paying union members means a growth in the power of the union to represent the interests of their membership. This, in turn, has political ramifications on Capitol Hill.
“Republicans in state legislatures and governors’ mansions have successfully implemented right-to-work legislation in a number of states, which prohibits unionized workplaces from compelling employees to join the union or pay dues,” GovExec explained.
The Wisconsin example is of particular concern for federal employee unions.
“Republican Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin in 2011 successfully crippled public sector unions in his state with the Wisconsin Budget Repair Bill, which significantly increased employees’ contributions to their pensions and health insurance, ended their ability to negotiate over working conditions and required public unions to take annual votes to recertify themselves,” GovExec reminded. “Vice President Mike Pence reportedly consulted Walker in January to explore how Act 10, which also prohibited state agencies from collecting dues on behalf of unions, could be implemented on the federal level.”
— AFGE (@AFGENational) September 20, 2017