How Congress Talks About Unions

June 30, 2018

The Supreme Court handed down a landmark decision in the case of Janus v AFSCME, ruling that states can no longer force government workers to pay agency fees, calling it a violation of an individual's first amendment rights. The decision sparked a slew of reactions from lawmakers in Congress, with hundreds of statements coming in the past three days. Here’s a look at how both parties have talked about unions during the 115th Congress:

Democrats mention workers twice as often as Republicans. Republicans mention businesses over five times more frequently than Democrats.

Republicans were also significantly more likely to reference agency, in reference to the agency fees that were required of union-eligible employees but were deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. Democrats were more likely to mention wages in reference to the role unions play in advocating higher wages for their members.

Rep. Khanna (D-CA-17) is the most vocal member of the 115th Congress on unions, mentioning them 128 times since 1/3/17. There are no Republicans among the top ten most vocal members on unions.

Reps. Clay (D-MO-1) and Pocan (D-WI-2) are the only members among the most vocal who represent a state with an existing right-to-work law prior to the SCOTUS decision. Rep. McCaul (R-TX-10) is the most vocal Republican and the 12th most vocal overall with 38 mentions of unions in this Congress.

Rep. Khanna is also the most vocal on Janus v. AFSCME, mentioning the case 26 times during the 115th Congress.

While Sen. Orrin Hatch is the most vocal Republican on the case, he is the 35th most vocal member across both parties, having mentioned the case just five times. Overall, 29 of the 288 Republicans in Congress have mentioned Janus, or 10 percent of the conference, while 100 of the 244 Democrats mentioned Janus, or 44 percent of the caucus.

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