Honorable Jane Hughson 630 E Hopkins San Marcos, Texas 78666
RE: Proposed City Ordinance governing employee labor union communication
Dear Mayor Hughson:
Our first impression is that there are indeed 1st Amendment implications regarding this proposition. Under settled law, the 1st amendment right of association “encompasses … the right of [public employee] unions to engage in advocacy and to petition government on their [members’] behalf.” PACE v. El Paso County Community College District (5th Cir. 1984). The 1st Amendment prohibits government actions whose purpose is to intimidate public employees from engaging in such protected activities. This ordinance imposes criminal penalties on “lobbyists” specifically defined to include the San Marcos Police Officers Association, who attempt to advocate for their members without first going through a registration process and then reporting on all conversations, seemingly no matter how casual or who initiated the conversation.
By singling out the police union by name, the council is attempting, through official governmental intimidation to stop communication with a certain class of worker. That is called union busting. By forcing some employees to engage in an onerous process while other interest groups are free to engage and communicate at will you are in fact discriminating against union members.
Rest assured those who actively seek to bust the unions of the working women and men of law enforcement are not new. Union busting has been attempted by fringe politicians from both the left & right. I am personally committed to using whatever legal means necessary to overturn this discriminatory effort if passed.
CLEAT is proud of our brave, hardworking police officers in San Marcos. They do so much for your city and its citizens and work hard in community affairs while off the clock. It is such a travesty of justice to see such a scurrilous and unwarranted attack on their union who work toward common goals in good faith efforts.
Please do the right thing and defeat this unconstitutional attack on your hometown cops. If not, we will see you in court.
Our first impression is that there are indeed 1st Amendment implications regarding this proposition. Under settled law, the 1st amendment right of association “encompasses … the right of [public employee] unions to engage in advocacy and to petition government on their [members’] behalf.”