Unions Targeting Vulnerable Pennsylvanians

Dave Smith’s life was turned upside down when Gov. Wolf issued an Executive Order letting the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) with the help of AFSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees) force unionization on his homecare worker, Don Lambrecht.

Homebound with muscular dystrophy, Dave has relied on Don for 25 years. More than friends, the two have become family. But Wolf’s order would let the SEIU upend this relationship by essentially forcing Don to collectively bargain against Dave, his employer.

That’s why Dave is fighting back, suing Gov. Wolf with the help of The Fairness Center, a non-profit public interest law firm. The case will be argued in court next month.

This threat against Don and Dave is just one example of what’s at stake in recent “unity partnerships” between SEIU and AFSCME.

Last fall, the two joined forces to elect three justices to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Together, SEIU and AFSCME spent about $140,000 in campaign contributions, less than five percent of the total raised by Democrat candidates. However, they also spent $538,450 on coordinated attack ads, polling and field work through Pennsylvanians for Judicial Reform. 

Now, these three judges could decide Dave and Don’s case.

What’s the clincher? Because of a special perk, government unions can forcibly collect their dues—which they can use for PAC contributions—using taxpayer-funded payroll systems. Elected officials have gone to jail for using taxpayer funded resources for elections. But government unions play by their own rules.

That’s why paycheck protection—ending the use of taxpayer resources for political purposes—is essential.

Unions should have the freedom to form “unity partnerships” and coordinate their lobbying efforts. But they shouldn’t operate under a special set of rules that lets them use taxpayer resources to elect judges favorable to their political agenda.