CF Calls Out Union Ad Campaign’s Deceptions

For Immediate Release
Commonwealth Foundation
Contact: 717-671-1901

National Teachers’ Union Fibs in Political Attack Ad

Uses taxpayer resources to do it

March 4, 2014, HARRISBURG, PA—Today, the Commonwealth Foundation corrects the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and gives the government union a failing grade in truth-telling.

One week ago, the AFT ran ads in newspapers across the state—including in the Patriot-News, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, and others—falsely claiming Gov. Corbett “closed neighborhood schools” and “laid off thousands of teachers” in Philadelphia through massive education funding cuts.

The Commonwealth Foundation countered the AFT’s deceptions about education funding with its own ads (example here) in the same newspapers and highlighted the fact that taxpayer resources were used to collect the money spent to buy the union’s political ads.

“The truth is, state funding for schools is at an all-time high and the mythical ‘cuts’ the AFT complains of was federal stimulus money that everyone knew was temporary,” commented Matthew Brouillette, president and CEO of the Commonwealth Foundation and former high school teacher. “What’s worse, this latest political smear by AFT was paid for using teachers’ dues money that taxpayers helped collect through automatic payroll deduction from teachers’ paychecks. Unfortunately, teachers had no say in whether or not to participate in the AFT’s deceptions.”

Brouillette continued, “It’s more than a little ironic that AFT chose to run these ads during the same week former House Speaker John Perzel was released from prison after being jailed for using taxpayer resources for politics. Until we end the government unions’ exclusive and unfair financial and political advantage, political attacks like these will continue to be subsidized by taxpayers.

Paycheck protection simply requires that government unions like the AFT collect their own dues and campaign money—just like every other political organization in the state. It would not prevent the AFT from engaging in any of these activities, but it would stop the use of taxpayer resources for political purposes.”

Brouillette noted, “Even union members themselves are in favor of this reform. According to recent polling, 67 percent of union households believe the collection of dues by the government is not a proper use of state resources.”

Matthew Brouillette and other Commonwealth Foundation experts are available for comment on the truth behind education “cuts” and the need for a paycheck protection law.

Please contact us at 717-671-1901 to schedule an interview.

For more public school funding facts, see our detailed blog post.

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For more information, please contact our director of media relations for the Commonwealth Foundation at 717-671-1901 or [email protected].

The Commonwealth Foundation, founded in 1988, crafts free-market policies, convinces Pennsylvanians of their benefits, and counters attacks on liberty.