Capitol Rally an Outcry for Fairness: The Facts on Paycheck Protection

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

Capitol Rally Reflects Public Outcry for Fairness

Lawmakers to Hear Testimony on Paycheck Protection Tomorrow

June 4, 2014, Harrisburg, Pa—Today, hundreds will rally at the state Capitol in support of paycheck protection legislation that would end government union executives’ unfair abuse of taxpayer resources and union members’ dues for their own political gain. Tomorrow, the House State Government Committee will hold a public hearing on House Bill 1507, the paycheck protection bill. 

Here are the facts:

Taxpayer resources fund government union politics

  • Pennsylvania allows government union executives to automatically deduct union dues, fees, and political action committee (PAC) contributions from public employees’ paychecks using taxpayer resources. Much of that money is spent on political activity and lobbying, including get-out-the-vote drives, election mailers in support of candidates, lobbying of legislators, TV and radio ads, and fundraising for PACs.
  • The Pennsylvania State Education Association told members last year that as much as 12 percent of their dues, or $7 million, would be used for political activity and lobbying in 2013-2014.
  • In 2013, Pennsylvania’s five largest government unions reported spending more than $5.5 million of members’ dues on political activity.

Click here for many examples of dues-funded political advertising.

It is an unfair political advantage

  • It is illegal for politicians to use taxpayer resources for political gain. Some have gone to jail for doing it, others are under indictment.
  • Collecting unions’ political money leads to corruption and conflicts of interest. Elected officials negotiate with union executives—who, in turn, can use their significant resources, collected at taxpayers’ expense, to support or obstruct those same politicians.

Click here for a commentary by Berks County Commissioner Christian Leinbach that addresses this conflict of interest from an elected official’s perspective.

Paycheck protection doesn’t restrict collective bargaining rights

  • The only thing that would change is how union dues and campaign contributions are collected.  Government union executives would be responsible for collecting dues themselves instead of relying on taxpayers to do it for them.
  • This would empower union members to hold their leaders more accountable for how their money is spent on politics.

Click here for a letter to the editor from a union member saying paycheck protection is a matter of fairness and empowerment for public employees.

Simple legislation

Click here for a list of boards of county commissioners that have passed resolutions in favor of paycheck protection.

Union households agree this practice should end

According to the union households surveyed in February:

  • 80 percent do not think taxpayer resources should be used to collect campaign contributions
  • 72 percent think unions should collect dues themselves
  • 58 percent support paycheck protection legislation

Click here for survey results.

Commonwealth Foundation experts are available for comment on how paycheck protection would bring fairness to the political process and end the misuse of public resources.

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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.