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Unions waiting to see what happens with dues-deduction bills

06.20.14

JUNE 2014, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Edition of The Union News

Unions waiting to see what happens with dues-deduction bills

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, June 2nd- The labor community is quietly optimistic that the anti-union legislation that would ban payroll deduction clauses in labor agreements in all levels of governments will not be passed, at least before the Pennsylvania General Assembly recesses for the summer at the end of June.

Anti-union groups have spent thousands of dollars on mailings and lobbying to attempt to get House Bill (HB 1507) and Senate Bill (SB 1034) passed by the legislature that would prohibit the payroll deduction of union members and fair-share fees of government workers. Should the legislation pass, the bill will force unions to represent non-members without any meaningful way to collect fees for the service of representation.

House Bill 1507 is being called by anti-union forces the “Payroll Protection” bill. The groups have been claiming, without facts, that taxpayers are paying for union dues collection for public employees and that teachers and state workers are being forced to contribute to political and legislative activism. However, automatic payroll deduction of union dues is not mandated by any law rather it is bargained for during labor contract negotiations, the same as any other provision within a collective bargaining agreement.

The anti-union group, the Commonwealth Foundation, has falsely stated that taxpayer resources are being used to collect political campaign contributions.

However, any financial cost occured by any government for the collection of political contributions by union members is reimbursed by the union. Meaning, the claim made by the Commonwealth Foundation is inaccurate.

Also, before any contribution is deducted for political purposes by a union, the individual public employee must first sign a card requesting the contribution be taken from their paycheck.

If the legislation became law, organized labor would be singled-out because all other paycheck deductions, such as insurance companies, banks, and financial companies, would still be allowed.

The well financed anti-union out-of-state corporate special interest groups that seem to be determined to hurt labor organizations that represent government employees in Pennsylvania, have stated inaccuately that public employees are charged for political lobbying expenses. However, the employee is not even charged when the lobbying helps them too.