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Public service workers in Montana fend off attacks against their unions

Montana State Capitol building. Photo credit: Getty
By AFSCME Staff ·

Public service workers in Montana defeated attacks against their right to form strong unions earlier this year, successfully pressuring lawmakers to vote down anti-worker and anti-union bills.

The state Senate and House bills sought to weaken workers’ ability to form strong unions by prohibiting payroll deduction and attacking exclusive representation, among other things. They were defeated in a bipartisan way and are unlikely to come up again soon.

Such bills have been launched in state houses across the country this year, from Florida to Indiana and New Hampshire, even as union popularity continues to grow and the nation just elected two champions of working families and the labor movement in President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.

There is nothing new about wealthy special interests trying to sow division to undermine workers’ voices. Through front groups like the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), Americans for Prosperity (AFP) and the State Policy Network (SPN), they have long tried to push through legislation that would give them a bigger share of the pie at the expense of working people and their unions.

The four Montana bills – SB 89 and HB 168; SB 228 and HB 251 – were attacks on front-line public service workers. The goal of these and similar bills in other states is to silence working people so we can’t speak up for our communities, our families and the services we provide to keep our country running.

AFSCME members defeated these attacks by speaking through their union and joining forces with community partners. They successfully fought back well-funded attempts to weaken their union and undermine their labor rights. That’s the union difference.

AFSCME will continue to defend against anti-worker and anti-union attacks wherever and whenever they are launched.

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