Letter to the Editor: Collecting union dues: State government should not be involved
March 10, 2014 10:30 AM

In response to Michael Tshudy, Indiana Area Education Association president, and the other education association presidents (“Dues deduction issue has been distorted,” Feb. 26):

Taxpayer resources, no matter the costs to taxpayers, should never be used for political purposes. Using taxpayer-funded payroll systems to collect political money is no different than using a legislative office or taxpayer-provided phone for campaign fundraising, which is illegal.

Teachers must join a union or pay “fair share” fees. These are a portion of the membership dues, approximately 70 percent. If the employee refuses, he or she can be fired. Therefore, union membership really isn’t voluntary.

Furthermore, the letter’s claim that union members aren’t forced to pay their dues by payroll deduction is irrelevant. The issue at hand is whether the government should be in the business of collecting dues and political money. Such an arrangement confers a special political privilege to unions and is not the proper role of government.

The letter is correct that dues cannot be given directly to candidates, but what it conveniently fails to mention is that dues can be used for a variety of “soft” political activities including independent campaign activities, expenses related to soliciting and administering contributions to a union’s PAC, and lobbying of legislators.

Paycheck protection is about good government, fairness to taxpayers and fairness to all workers. Claims that legislation ending government collection of political dollars is anti-labor are ridiculous and would be news to the 58 percent of union households in a Commonwealth Foundation poll who support paycheck protection. Are those households anti-labor? (http://mediatrackers.org/pennsylva nia/2014/02/26/unions-befuddled-pennsylvania-paycheck-protection-sup port)

Drew Kimmel


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