The Grinch Who Would Steal Seniors' Christmas

DECEMBER 20, 2012 | by NATHAN BENEFIELD

A faux-grassroots group funded by government unions is protesting a proposed contract for a private company to manage the Pennsylvania Lottery.

The deal would guarantee a minimum of $34 billion in lottery profits over 20 years—far exceeding current lottery profit forecasts. Lottery funds are used to fund the Department of Aging and other programs for seniors, which are seeing costs rise partly due to Pennsylvania's aging population. Utilizing the expertise of a private management company offers an alternative to cutting programs that seniors rely on or raising taxes to sustain them.

But government union bosses aren't concerned about the billions in additional revenue for seniors. The number they are really fighting over is $100,000. That is the approximate amount of forced union dues AFSCME could lose if 160 state lottery employees transition to jobs with a private company.

Those dues, which state government deducts from workers' paychecks and sends directly to the union, cover about half of AFSCME Executive Director David Fillman's $204,000 compensation package. Those dues also support AFSCME's lobbying and political activity—the union spent nearly $1 million on political activity from dues in 2011-12.

Union boss David Fillman may act like he is fighting for seniors or state workers, but really he is lobbying (with taxpayer-collected dues) to keep forcing workers to pay dues to sustain his six-figure salary.



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