How Taxpayers Subsidize Union Politics

Last year, Pennsylvania’s main government unions spent nearly $5 million of their members’ union dues on political activities that workers don’t get to approve. In 2011-12, these unions also spent close to $4 million in PAC contributions on electing candidates to political office.

Such spending shows that government unions are a major political player in Pennsylvania politics. But here’s the kicker: Taxpayers are helping to pay for unions’ politics.

How is this possible? Across Pennsylvania, school districts and other state and local government agencies act as collection agents for unions, collecting union dues and PAC contributions via payroll and sending them off in lump sums to unions.

By using these taxpayer-funded systems, government unions receive an unfair political advantage no other private organization enjoys. And this power cycle of automatic dues deductions has allowed unions to lock in unprecedented influence over the political system in Pennsylvania, hurting students, taxpayers and even the very workers they’re supposed to help.

For more on Government Unions’ Unfair Political Advantage, see our Policy Points on the issue.