Councilman Raul Peralez Urges San Jose to Reaffirm Support for Unions in Wake of Janus Ruling

The Supreme Court dealt a huge blow to public-sector unions by ruling in Janus v. AFSCME that they can no longer collect mandatory “fair share” fees from non-members to cover the costs of collective bargaining.

Public employees will now have to opt in to pay agency fees—which are different from membership dues—instead of having unions require them to opt out to avoid them. Organized labor and its allies denounced the ruling, which overrides more than four decades of legal precedent, as part of a broader push by corporations and conservatives to cripple unions and, by extension, the Democratic Party.

California has tried to temper the effect of the June 27 ruling with statewide legislation that, among other things, gives labor groups opportunities to pitch new public employees at job orientations and makes it harder for members to suddenly quit.

In San Jose, Councilman Raul Peralez is urging his colleagues to pass a resolution affirming the city’s support for its unions and ensuring that its 6,000 employees can freely organize to bargain for better wages, safer workplaces and competitive benefits.

On Tuesday, the City Council will consider the proposed resolution along with a report from City Attorney Rick Doyle about the court’s ruling and the slew of pro-union legislation recently passed in California.

In one of two memos on the subject, Peralez said it’s important for the city to express solidarity with the unions as the Supreme Court case threatens their ability to attract a strong workforce. As a San Jose cop, he said he knows full well the impact of chipping away at compensation, as the city did with its controversial pension cuts in 2012.

“I have seen firsthand the negative effects when employee benefits are weakened,” he wrote. “As a former [full-time] police officer, the impact from dwindling staff resources created unnecessary challenges for myself and my fellow officers in our line of duty to keep our community safe.”

More from the San Jose City Council agenda for October 23, 2018:

  • An audit of San Jose’s 50 community centers found that the city needs to keep better track of whether independent operators at 39 of those centers are delivering promised services.

WHAT: City Council meets
WHEN: 1:30pm Tuesday
WHERE: City Hall, 200 E. Santa Clara St., San Jose
INFO: City Clerk, 408.535.1260

Jennifer Wadsworth is the former news editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley. Follow her on Twitter at @jennwadsworth.

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