How Pennsylvania’s Labor Laws Trap Union Members

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Trap: No Regular Elections
Escape: Right to Reelect, SB 1059

  • Government unions claim to champion democracy, but most haven’t allowed members to vote on union representation in decades.
  • In Pennsylvania, less than 1 percent of public school teachers voted for the union currently representing them. 
  • Current law makes it very difficult to hold a union election in Pennsylvania, SB 1059 requires government unions to stand for reelection every four years.  
  • Government unions should be required to stand for re-election, just as elected officials must do every two or four years. Union members deserve to choose their representation.

Trap: No Transparency
Escape: Employee Notification

  • Many government union members aren’t told how their dues are spent.
  • Unions report millions of dues dollars spent on “political activities and lobbying.”
    • For example, about 36 percent of each teacher’s dues to the PSEA and NEA fund political activities.
  • Unions should be required to send a simplified annual notice to all members detailing key financial indicators such as union expenditures for the year broken down by category.

Trap: No Flexibility
Escape: Always Allow Resignation & Independent Bargaining

  • Government union contracts give employees few opportunities to resign membership.
  • Collective bargaining agreements with a maintenance of membership provision give public employees a very brief window to resign their membership.
    • In normal cases, a teacher can wait three to four years until the two-week opt-out window, which occurs right before the current contract expires.
  • Government unions fight to be the “exclusive bargaining agent.” This means nonunion employees cannot negotiate pay or working conditions. Instead, they must pay the union a fee to negotiate on their behalf.

Trap: No Privacy
Escape: Protect Employee Information,
House Bill 1470

  • Government unions in Michigan have released personal financial information to intimidate a teacher after she urged her colleagues to resign their union membership.
    • The worker, not the union, should control access to personal information.
  • House Bill 1470 begins to protect government union members by ensuring home addresses and social security numbers are not required by collective bargaining agreements.