Indiana, PA - Indiana County

Letter to the Editor: Dues deduction issue has been distorted

on February 26, 2014 10:59 AM

There are currently two bills in the state Legislature that if passed would prohibit state employees from having their union dues deducted from their paychecks. The proponents of these bills have done their best to confuse and distort the issue because their only real intent is to further erode the efforts of labor organizations to protect members and the working class.

The arguments that have been made by supporters of this legislation, and in recent letters by Ms. Anderson and Ms. Weber, are inaccurate. As representatives of public school teachers across Indiana County, we felt it was imperative that we educate the readers of this fine publication with accurate information.

First of all, the assertion that tax dollars are being spent to deduct dues borders on the ridiculous. In an age of technology and automated payroll, there are no discernible costs to the district or taxpayers. That is why school districts have no objection to making this an option for their employees.

Secondly, members of public sector unions are not forced to join, they choose to do so. Additionally, no members are forced to pay dues via payroll deduction. They choose to do so each year by signing a form that allows the school district to deduct that fee for the employee and forward it to the association. This choice is presented to members at the beginning of each and every year, just as it is for donations to the United Way, for health care savings accounts, and for retirement investments.

Finally, none of these dues dollars, by law, can be given to political candidates or their campaigns. Members may choose to donate to campaigns separately, but that is completely voluntary as well.

To be clear, this entire issue is nothing more than an anti-labor tactic from a small group of well-funded people who wish to distort facts and turn public opinion against the labor groups that have fought for gains and protections enjoyed by all workers, not just union members.

Michael Tshudy

president, Indiana Area Education Association

EDITOR’S NOTE: This letter was submitted on behalf of the presidents of the following education associations who read and approved it: Kristy Hopper, Marion Center Area; Kathy Muir, Blairsville-Saltsburg; Diane Fenton, Purchase Line; Lisa Adams, Homer-Center; Tony Delfonso, Penns Manor Area; Patricia S. Sexton, United; Jon Krecota, Indiana County Technology Center; and Christine Hughes, IU 28.

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