Blunt to decide on ‘fair-share’ fees

Monday, November 22, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 7:02 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, July 16, 2008

JEFFERSON CITY — Gov.-elect Matt Blunt has until Dec. 15 to decide whether to publish a rule in the Missouri Register that would force new state employees to pay their “fair-share” union fees or to continue his resistance and appeal a Cole County court ruling ordering him to publish it.

The rule must be published in the register before it can take effect.

Blunt has already said that as governor he will repeal the executive order, which was made by outgoing Gov. Bob Holden in June 2001. It requires all new employees to pay the union fees. However, despite his disagreement with the policy, it remains his duty as secretary of state to publish Holden’s fair-share regulations.

Unlike typical union fees, fair-share fees cover only the costs union leaders say are used for collective bargaining. That’s why union officials argue that all workers should pay them because all workers benefit from the bargaining.

Opponents of the fees argue they force levies on all workers regardless of whether they wish to participate in the union.

“You can’t by law force people to join organizations against their will, which this executive order forces people to do,” Blunt spokesman Spence Jackson said.

Union leaders of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees filed the writ of mandamus against Blunt for refusing to publish the law this past August. Such writs are filed against public officials who refuses to perform duties their position obligates them to perform.

If Blunt were to publish the rule, he would be unable to prevent new employees from being forced to pay the fair share fees until 2006, even if he repealed Holden’s order immediately after his inauguration, AFSCME spokesman Kevin Heyen said.

Missourian reporter Ben Welsh contributed to this report.

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