By Lisa Esler
Currently, Harrisburg is considering “Paycheck Protection” legislation, known as HB1507, a bill sponsored by Rep Bryan Cutler. HB 1507 effectively bans all use of public resources to collect, bundle and transmit public sector union dues and PAC contributions as a service to the unions and their members. The Senate version of the bill is SB1034.
Neither version would end collective bargaining rights of the unions.
Under Paycheck Protection legislation, school districts and
counties would stop collecting dues for the unions via automatic payroll deduction. Seven states have already banned this practice.
Public union members, such as teachers and state and county
public employees, will be responsible for paying their own dues and
political contributions directly to the unions. This would bring public
sector unions, which are private organizations, in line with any other
private organization or business.
With Paycheck Protection in effect, taxpayers’ resources such as
our school district or government entity would no longer act as a
collection agency for the unions.
Dues and political contributions are used by the unions to lobby for or against legislation for their members’ best interest, many times conflicting with the taxpayer’s best interest. Pension reform would be the best example of this. It is also used to bargain for better wages and generous benefits which are paid with tax money.
While unions claim the cost to collect their dues is negligible,
that is not the issue. The issue is the breach of public trust and
conflicts of interest in using public resources to assist funding
political activities that may be against the political views or best
interests of the public.
When legislators depend on special interest contributions to fund
their elections, their legislative decisions will surely follow the
money, not the best interest of their constituents. Without Paycheck
Protection, this unfair cycle will continue with the poor taxpayer’s
best interest and concerns being silenced.
Polls show popular support for passage of Paycheck Protection. In
fact, one poll shows 58 percent support among union households!
Paycheck Protection is the most important issue because it
directly affects all other legislation in Harrisburg. Putting a stop to
this practice is the right thing to do.
Let’s educate ourselves on this issue and encourage our lawmakers
to fight for the best interest of the Pa. taxpayer instead of bowing to
union pressure for the status quo.
Lisa Esler is a member of the Penn Delco School Board in Delaware County, Pa.