Pennsylvania Could Become Ground-Zero in Union Fight

Bill would end state practice of deducting union dues from public employee checks.

NewsWorks reports a battle looms over a  bill that would end the state’s practice of deducting union dues from the paychecks of public union employees—teachers unions, for example, would have to be paid by members directly instead of relying on the schools to deduct those funds.

The fact that union dues and a voluntary political contribution can be deducted from a public worker’s wage is a “glaring ethical problem” for state government, said state Rep. Bryan Cutler, R-Lancaster.

“Individuals as taxpayers would raise the concern of, well it just doesn’t look right,” he said. “And that, to me, is a problem.”

It’s a battle that’s attracting national attention. Rick Bloomingdale, head of the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO, declared earlier this month that the bill represents a “war on workers.”

Workers have lost ground for over three decades. Do you think this legislation that weakens unions and tilts the playing field even more in favor of big corporations will improve the lives of working families?

This is an extremely bad proposal made by extreme groups and their friends in the Legislature. It doesn’t represent the views of the majority of Pennsylvanians. It is anti-worker and anti-middle class. We need to make sure it never sees the light of day.

Over on the right, commentators like Grover Norquist say Pennsylvania could become “the new Wisconsin” in the battle over public unions and their protections. They dispute Bloomingdale’s take:

The fact that the AFL-CIO, AFSCME, and others think they need the state to collect their dues is telling. Expect a continuation of their claims that paycheck protection would hinder workers’ right to organize or negotiate.

It would do no such thing. Instead, it would force union brass to prove their value to rank-and-file workers in order to convince them to part with their hard-earned income. Just as a parent with an education voucher is empowered and taken more seriously by school officials than a parent without choice, workers are empowered when the decision whether to give their money to unions is voluntary.

With so much interest, expect the noise level to rise.