HB 168 is an Illegal Intrusion on Worker Rights and Freedoms

Late last week, House Representative Bill Mercer introduced House Bill 168. The bill has already been scheduled for a hearing in the House Business and Labor Committee later this week. HB 168 is similar to SB 89 in many ways. Both laws allow the government to tell workers what they can and can’t do with their own paycheck and disrupt the day-to-day business of state and local governments, including schools. However, HB 168 goes even further, by pushing illegal policies that force an employer to stand between a worker and their union.

MFPE President Amanda Curtis has released the following statement in response to Representative Mercer’s legislation:

“HB 168 is an illegal government intrusion on the voluntary relationship between unions and their members.  Every single state and federal court to consider the issues presented in HB 168, including a state court in Montana, has ruled that the U.S. Supreme Court’s Janus decision does not apply to the voluntary relationship between unions and their members.

HB 168 is just another example of a fundamental misunderstanding of established labor law. No one is ever forced to join a union and union members voluntarily agree to pay dues. We shouldn’t be passing legislation that allows the government to tell workers what they can and can’t do with their own paycheck.

To make matters worse, HB 168 creates chaos in school districts and local and state governments by forcing public employers to negotiate with anyone and everyone.

The bottom-line is that HB 168 is harmful, unnecessary, and illegal. Our nurses, law enforcement, firefighters, and teachers who have delivered essential services to every Montana community during a global pandemic deserve better.”

MFPE calls on the Montana legislature and Governor Gianforte to reject HB 168 as harmful, unnecessary, and illegal. Montanans who have delivered essential services to every Montana community during a global pandemic deserve better and will not stand for this kind of attack on our fundamental freedoms. 

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