Indiana, PA - Indiana County

Letter to the Editor: Dues, PAL funds handled separately

on February 10, 2014 10:20 AM

Julie Anderson’s comments in her Feb. 2 letter, “Unions getting special treatment on dues,” are misleading and misinformed.

Union dues and PAL funds are used for two different purposes in the political realm.

Union dues are used to educate and inform the membership about political issues through various mailings and publications. Members can then reach out to their representatives in support, or opposition, or be neutral with regard to bills such as Senate Bill 1034.

PAL funds are strictly voluntary. PAL funds, unlike union dues, can be used for political action.

Union dues and PAL deductions were negotiated between the commonwealth and the union. The contract states that if there is any administrative cost, the union is responsible. To date, we at AFSCME have not received a bill.

Many organizations, along with the union, use state payroll deductions. The credit union, insurance companies and the United Way are some examples. More than $3 million has been given to the United Way through state payroll deductions.

SB 1034 would eliminate payroll deductions for some unions, but not all. Under this bill, unions such as those for the state police, corrections officers and firefighters can continue with payroll deductions.

There should be fairness and equality with regard to the ability to collect funds. So, should state employees and legislators be required to set up monthly deductions from their checking account or write checks once a month to support organizations, as Ms. Anderson suggests, or is that just for union dues deductions? The creditors, insurance agents, deferred compensation agents and the United Way directors would find the idea cringe-worthy.

If Ms. Anderson thinks union organizations are the only organizations that contribute to the political arena through state payroll deductions, she is mistaken.

I personally want to continue to have the ability to be informed and educated about the issues that impact my livelihood. I strongly recommend that everyone oppose HB 1507 and SB 1034, based on fairness and equality alone.

Readers, please seek the truth. Read the bills and decide for yourself. Contact your representative and voice your opinions and concerns.

Terry Skultety

Homer City

AFSCME staff representative

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