End Teacher Bullying with Paycheck Protection

As most PolicyBlog readers already know, union dues are being used for political action. Moreover, taxpayer resources are used to collect both union dues and union campaign contributions. We at CF have been working to educate the public about this crucial issue—including a new TV commercial you can watch here.

But some union leaders not only continue to lie about basic facts, but resort to insults and playground name calling. Here is my response to a letter from a local union leader attacking teacher John Cress (you can read some of John’s story here).

Bruce Koch’s letter (“Mailings don’t tell the whole story,” Jun 14) is both insulting and misleading. As a former local union president and teacher, he should know better than to insult a fellow teacher’s appearance and even question his intelligence.

Moreover, he gets his facts wrong. Mr. Koch claims that “Not one single penny” of union dues “can be used for political action.” This is demonstrably false. In 2013, the PSEA—the state’s largest teachers’ union—reported $3.8 million in political spending from union members’ dues. That comes from publicly available federal government records.

And even the PSEA’s own magazine tells members that an estimated 12 percent of union dues “will be used for lobbying and political expenses” this year.

Mr. Koch also claims that no tax dollars are spent on campaign contributions. Again, this is wrong. State government and school districts collect political action committee (PAC) contributions for government union leaders using the state’s payroll systems. The Pennsylvania Treasury and school districts then write checks to union PACs—money that is then given out to politicians in the form of campaign contributions.

Given these facts, Mr. Koch should be joining John Cress in calling for change rather than attacking a fellow teacher. Taxpayer resources are being used to fund politics, and that’s just wrong.

To take action on paycheck protection and counter these lies, please click here.