Private employers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, may take great interest in recent legislative developments in the area of employment law. Currently, the state Legislature of Louisiana is considering the passage of two bills. They would prevent public school officials from deducting teacher union dues which might then be used for political and/or activist purposes.

While teacher unions oppose the bills, businesses and employers generally support them. Recent Supreme Court holdings lean in favor of the employers. The implications of the bills in terms of potential employment litigation are unclear at this time.

Louisiana is not alone in debating these legislative developments. Several other states are addressing this issue as well. While there are two separate bills in discussion in Louisiana, both would essentially prevent taxpayer dollars from being deducted from public employee checks that would then fund political and/or activist actions taken by public employees.

The unions representing the teachers claim such a bill would impinge on their members’ First Amendment Rights. They claim such a bill would not allow public employees to collect political contributions through union dues deductions. The unions argue this would interfere with the rights of public employees.

Private employers and businesses, however, view the bills as carrying out the best interests of taxpayers and furthering ethical behavior. They claim taxpayers should not have to pay for specific political activities desired by public employees. They note that employees would still be able to write checks to their personal causes directly.

These ongoing debates could greatly impact private employers in the months to come. When negotiating and dealing with unions, employers should consider the consequences of their actions. Employers must also be aware of their rights in the event unions threaten the employers with litigation.

Should these bills pass, Louisiana employers may be able to more strongly assert certain rights against unions. When facing complex issues involving unions, collective bargaining and employment management, employers would be wise to know their options under the business and employment laws of Louisiana.

Source: The Pelican Post, “Payroll Protection Bills Would Prohibit Mandatory Deductions for Political Activism,” Kevin Mooney, April 25, 2012