Thursday, January 16, 2014
In 2013, union members in Pennsylvania stood together to defeat some of the most direct attacks we have ever faced. Repeated efforts to privatize public services, destroy retirement security, and gut prevailing wage laws were held back.
Now, in an election year with everything at stake, huge money interests from outside of Pennsylvania are putting everything they have into making our Commonwealth the next “Right to Work” state. Their aim is clear, to bankrupt unions so that there will no longer be any organized opposition to the blatant attacks on working families that they plan.
House Bill 1507 is what ALEC and the Koch brothers call a “Paycheck Protection” bill. They have already been targeting direct mail into the state to spread lies in support of this bill, claiming that taxpayers are paying for union dues collection for public employees, and that teachers and state workers are forced to contribute to political and legislative activism.
The facts are clear, even though you won’t hear them in the commercials that the Koch brothers are financing. Automatic payroll deduction of dues is not mandated by any law, rather it is bargained for during contract negotiations. This deduction does not cost taxpayers money. Unions already agreed to reimburse the state for costs associated with deductions of PAC funds, but according to the State of Pennsylvania, there is no measurable cost to be reimbursed.
While the reasons that the other side gives for pushing this legislation are dishonest, their true goal is obvious. It’s simple. This legislation would force unions to spend resources to collect union dues, and make it nearly impossible to collect the fair share fees that non-members must pay to cover their union representation. At the end of the day that means unions will be weakened, and have less ability to advocate for employees in the workplace and in the legislature. This would open the flood gates for a wide range of anti-worker legislation that would be sure to follow.
There is no doubt that the passage of HB 1507 would mean that Pennsylvania would become the next right to work state. Don’t be silent on this issue. We expect this bill to move very quickly, with significant resources flooding into Pennsylvania to back this latest attack on the middle class.