One of the big themes of 2011 was the Republican effort to weaken unions around the nation. Now that we've reached 2012, check out week one:
-- Just after one o'clock this morning, Republicans in the North Carolina state legislature voted to end the practice of letting teachers have their union dues automatically deducted. North Carolina is a right-to-work state, so they're not required to join the union. Now, if they do, keeping up with dues will be that much harder. Wisconsin Republicans made a similar move last year. The idea is to weaken the unions by forcing them to collect dues monthly, and by forcing members to consider their membership anew each month. (h/t @JasonBFT)
-- In Indiana, Republicans are trying for a second year to pass a bill that would ban union shops there. Indiana House Democrats boycotted the session yesterday. "We refuse to let the most controversial public policy bill of the decade be railroaded through with the public being denied their fair and adequate input," House Minority Leader B. Patrick Bauer told the Indianapolis Star.
-- And on page 7 of the New York Times today, Rick Berman's Center for Union Facts shills for the anti-union Employee Rights Act with a full-page ad comparing American unions to North Korea's dictatorship. "Fewer than 10% of employees in unions voted to join their union," the ad says. "In most cases, the employees who voted for the union are dead or gone." This is a little like saying that fewer than 10 percent of Americans voted to have their states join the United States of America because they're all dead or gone, but hey. The act is sponsored by Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Representative Tim Scott (R-South Carolina).