City employment documents indicate a decline in municipal union membership following a Supreme Court decision permitting government employees to forego union dues.
According to the analysis conducted by The City, a non-profit news organization, there was a nearly 8% decrease in workers having their dues deducted from 2018 to 2022. This decline surpassed the overall 5.1% reduction in the city’s workforce during the same period.
The 8% decrease is twice the 3.5% drop identified by the Independent Budget Office in January 2019, mere months after the Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling in the Janus v. AFSCME case overturned a prior mandate for employees under union contracts to contribute dues.
Between 2019 and 2022, the Police Benevolent Association experienced a reduction of over 3,100 members, exceeding the 1,300 decrease in police officers during the same period.
Simultaneously, as the count of correction officers in the city’s jails fell by one-third, the Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association witnessed a more substantial decrease in members who paid dues, recording a 40% decline within those three years.
Furthermore, the union representing City University of New York’s staff, professors, and part-time instructors confirmed a decline from 61% to 51% of eligible part-time employee memberships.
During the initial two years of the pandemic, when teaching transitioned entirely to remote, the most significant drop in membership was observed, as per union president James Davis.
Davis noted, “Certainly when Janus hit, we lost some revenue that we had coming from fee payers, but we have not by and large lost union members because they turned around and said, ‘Gosh, I don’t need to pay my union anymore, I’m going to drop my union membership.'”
The Police Benevolent Association and the Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association challenged the gathered data, asserting that nearly every patrol officer and jail guard is a union member.
In contrast, the Professional Staff Congress attributes the decline in their membership to high turnover rates among part-time teaching staff.
The report also noted challenges in assessing the impact on the city’s largest municipal labor union, District Council 37, due to its diverse representation across various job classifications.
This data analysis comes five years after the Supreme Court ruling prohibiting compulsory union dues for employees covered by negotiated labor contracts.
After this decision, the 2019 IBO report disclosed that about 11,000 city workers had ceased paying union dues.
The city’s workforce consists of approximately 330,000 employees, excluding those employed by the city Housing Authority and the Health and Hospitals Corporation, as these entities maintain separate records.