Union Bosses? Paycheck Protection Deceptions

CF President Matt Brouillette and Simon Campbell of Pennsylvanians for Union Reform recently appeared on  Business Matters to debate government union bosses Wendell Young IV of UFCW 1776 and David Fillman of AFSCME Council 13 on the merits of paycheck protection.

The two union bosses—who spent a combined $1.2 million of members’ dues on political activity and lobbying in the 2011-12 election cycle—made some rather startling claims including the following (1:26):

There are no taxpayer resources being used [to collect union political money].

This is strange coming from Fillman given that the payroll systems used to collect union dues, fees, and even campaign contributions are funded by the public. In many cases, physical checks are even sent from the state to Fillman’s union’s headquarters. If taxpayers aren’t paying for this, who is?

Later, Wendell Young denied Matt’s point (5:54) that taxpayers are aiding in the collection of campaign contributions and union dues, which can be and have been used for politics. As we have repeatedly shown (here, here ,and here), union dues can be used for a variety of “soft” political activities including newspaper ads like AFT’s deceptive full-page ads on Gov. Corbett’s mythical $1 billion in education funding cuts. Unions themselves report this political spending.

After making his erroneous claim about union dues, Young continued to struggle with the facts (7:52):

As a very vocal minority of interests in Harrisburg, they’re [paycheck protection supporters] trying to silence the majority.

There are two problems with this claim. First, a majority of union members and Pennsylvanians support paycheck protection.  Secondly, paycheck protection does not silence union members or union bosses.  Government unions and members would still be free to engage in the political process, as is their right—the unions would just have to collect their own political money.

The deceptions didn’t end there. Young went on to say this about the supporters of paycheck protection (11:43):

He [Gov. Corbett] supports what they support in that he would be willing to discriminate against union workers and deny them the convenience that workers all across the country have.

To say paycheck protection is an effort to discriminate against workers is absurd. The purpose of the legislation is to level the political playing field, not single out government workers. The fact is, no other political organization can use taxpayer resources to fund a partisan political machine.

Union leaders are stretching the truth to the breaking point because they can’t justify their special privilege to use public resources for politics. For them, it’s all about control. 65 percent of union households believe paycheck protection would empower individual workers to have greater control over how their money is spent—and they don’t want that to happen.