Consensus Growing on Paycheck Protection

Earlier this week, we spotlighted editorials from the Wall Street Journal and Investor’s Business Daily urging Pennsylvania to pass paycheck protection legislation. While national attention raises awareness of this crucial issue, it’s the opinions of those within the state that we value most, and from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia editorial boards are speaking up for worker freedom and taxpayer fairness.

In a December 13 editorial, Bloomsburg’s Press-Enterprise warned of a “Government Union Power Cycle” which, “works so well that, in the past year, the PSEA has been able to pour $3.8 million of its member’s dues into ‘political activities and lobby.’”

They’re right: In Pennsylvania, public resources are used to collect government union dues and PAC money that can legally be spent on politics.

The Pittsburgh Tribune Review’s editorial board calls government unions’ special legal privilege, “not only unfair to public employees who disagree with what these unions do with their hard-earned money but to taxpayers who foot the bill for processing those paycheck deductions.”

The solution?

The Williamsport Sun-Gazette hails, “a proposal called ‘paycheck protection’ that would free teachers and other government employees from the unfair practice of having their dues automatically deducted from their paychecks and used for political purposes they don’t agree with.”

Countering “straw man” accusations of anti-worker union-busting, the Bucks County Courier Times emphasized that paycheck protection would actually improve government unions by making them more accountable in how they spend members’ money—unlike the current system which takes members for granted:

“What’s more, since the dues are a sure thing, union leaders don’t have to worry about explaining their activities to members or seeking their support, either philosophically or financially.

Because the funding is automatic and assured, members really get no voice. Who cares what they have to say or even what they think if you don’t have to worry about losing their financial support.”

The principle is simple: Public resources should never be used for political purposes. And the consensus is growing that government unions should be held to this standard—just like everyone else.