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Massachusetts Legislature overrides veto to approve ‘Janus’ response bill

Massachusetts has a new law enabling public sector unions to recover costs associated with representing non-members after the state Legislature completed an override of Gov. Charlie Baker’s veto of the so-called Janus bill.

The state Senate voted 39-1 on Sept. 19 to approve the bill over Baker’s veto, a day after the House voted 154-1 to do so.

The bill was drafted in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 2018 ruling in Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Council 31. In a 5-4 decision in that case, the court ruled that non-union workers cannot be forced to pay fees to public sector unions, a decision applauded by free speech advocates.

Labor Committee Co-chairman Rep. Paul Brodeur said the bill’s passage would bring an end to “free riders” who he said are able to access union services in grievance situations without being a member or paying dues to cover services. The bill establishes fair processes for communications between unions and people that unions represent, he said.

Baker cited privacy concerns in vetoing the bill in August.

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