McGarrigle Explains Opposition To Mary’s Law, Poorly

Sen. Tom McGarrigle (R-26) sent the following letter, March 9, in response to a constituent query regarding his opposition to Mary’s Law or SB 501: McGarrigle Explains Opposition To Mary's Law, Poorly

Dear Constituent:

Thank you for contacting my office to question why I voted against the legislation that would enact “Mary’s Law”, also known as paycheck protection.  This legislation has been introduced as Senate Bill 501.  To be accurate, I did not vote against Senate Bill 501.  On March 2, 2015, I voted against a proposed amendment to the bill.  Senate Bill 501 has not yet been advanced for a vote on final passage.  I do, however, intend to vote against the bill should that event occur.

I believe Senate Bill 501 unfairly singles out state and school employees.  Union members and non-members already enjoy a well-established legal right not to contribute to union political spending.  Unions cannot force employees to have money for representation or political activities automatically deducted from their paycheck without authorization. Paycheck-protection legislation does not provide workers’ with any rights they do not currently enjoy, but it deprives choice from workers who want a union with an effective political voice.  Finally, I cannot justify Senate Bill 501 on the rationale that it will save money, since payroll deduction has almost zero cost to taxpayers.

Thank you again for contacting me in regard to my position on this issue.

Thomas J. McGarrigle, Senator

OK, some background. Mary’s Law is named for Mary Trometter, a professor at Pennsylvania College of Technology, in Williamsport and a 20-year member of the Pennsylvania State Education Association which is the state’s main teachers union.

Just days before the Nov. 4 election, leaders from the national and state teachers unions sent a letter to her husband, urging him to “Please join Mary in in voting for Tom Wolf for Governor.”

Mary had no plans on voting for Wolf. She initially ripped it up and threw it in the trash then started thinking about it.  She investigated and found out that the letter was sent using money from the  NEA Advocacy Fund.

Now, Sen. McGarrigle is correct in the sense that that state law says “no employe(e) organization shall make any contribution out of the funds of the employe(e) organization either directly or indirectly to any political party or organization or in support of any political candidate for public office.”

So, um, why did Mary’s husband get the letter? The union says the law doesn’t apply to communications with members of the union. LOL.

Mary also found that the PSEA publication The Voice, which is funded with union dues,  took a strong pro-Wolf stand. She thought that was kind of unfair as well as she obviously couldn’t stop her dues from being used to pay for the union’s newsletter.

How about Sen. McGarrigle, you do what’s really fair and just end the automatic deduction of dues from public employee paychecks? If the union actually provides value for its members it will do just fine. If not, well, look what happened in Wisconsin.

People not being made to pay for something they don’t believe is the definition of fairness.

Question Sen. McGarrigle: If Scott Walker is the Republican nominee will you campaign for him.

Here is Mary Trometter explaining Mary’s Law:

McGarrigle Explains Opposition To Mary’s Law, Poorly

5 thoughts on “McGarrigle Explains Opposition To Mary’s Law, Poorly”

  1. What an arrogant and misleading response. First, for an elected official to begin a letter “Dear Constituent” shows a total lack of respect for those he or she represents. I’m willing to bet that the person who wrote the letter signed his or her name to it. Mr. McGarrigle’s response also shows his lack of understanding of the use of union dues. While he’s correct that monies can be specifically designated for political purposes, he conveniently ignores or is unaware of the use of so called “soft money” that is used from regular dues. I suspect that Mr. McGarrigle is well aware of that fact but of course cannot admit to that to a constituent. He has proven to be one more Delco pol in bed with the unions and uncaring and unresponsive to the taxpayers. It would be interesting to see a list of his donors and how many of them are attached to a union.

  2. McGarrigle’s statement: “Union members and non-members already enjoy a well-established legal right not to contribute to union political spending ” is FALSE. IF TEACHERS ARE UNION MEMBERS, A PORTION OF THEIR DUES GOES TO POLITICAL ACTIVITIES . THERE IS NO QUESTION ABOUT THIS!

    What better proof is there than the statement on the PSEA’s OWN web site? (
    “Important IRS notice on union dues deduction
    Published June 2011 Voice
    The Revenue Reconciliation Act of 1993 requires PSEA to notify its members regarding a reasonable estimate of the portion of their dues that are allocable to lobbying and political expenses and will be nondeductible for the coming year. PSEA estimates that 10 percent of your membership dues for the 2011-2012 membership year (September 2011 through August 2012) will be used for lobbying and political expenses.”

    This has not been updated to my knowledge. Many opine that the 10% number is far too low.

    Also, the web site: explains this very well. An excerpt from this site states: ” You may not have known this, but your member dues can be used for a variety of ‘soft’ political activities, such as get-out-the-vote drives, election mailers, lobbying of legislators and public marketing campaigns.”

    There IS a VOLUNTARY contribution option available in which teachers can VOLUNTARILY contribute to a PAC, named PACE. The HARD MONEY spent on political campaigns from these voluntary contributions to PACE is totally different from the SOFT MONEY that is used from the FORCED, INVOLUNTARY contributions from teachers. Perhaps Mr. McGarrigle is doesn’t understand the difference.

    To confuse the issue, however, teachers are not REQUIRED to join the union, but those who opt for this choice still have to pay a large percentage of the dues — that which has been deemed to be associated with the union’s direct representation of workers, and not with its political activities. According to the web site cited above, this percentage is 64% and is called “fair share” dues. Does this mean that 36% of the dues of members goes for political activities? YOU decide! Also, the question of fungibility must be considered. In any case, and summarizing, McGarrigle’s statement that “UNION MEMBERS ALREADY ENJOY A WELL-ESTABLISHED LEGAL RIGHT NOT TO CONTRIBUTE TO UNION POLITICAL SPENDING” is NOT TRUE since a portion of MEMBERS’ dues is questionably used for political activities.

    BTW, there’s no question whatsoever as to the political leanings of the PSEA. Interestingly enough, in August of 2014, a political flyer supporting Wolf and criticizing Corbett was put into teachers’ mailboxes in a majority of the West Chester School district’s public schools. And guess what? It was marked: “Paid for by the PSEA.”

  3. Joanne, excellent explanation and one that if Mr. McGarrigle doesn’t understand, he should. His response was, at best, obfuscating (like any good politician) and at worst lying. It never ceases to amaze me how those we elect to serve have that annoying habit of treating we taxpayers like we know nothing and are mere pests. Seems to me that some of we taxpayers know one whole heck of a lot more than they do.

  4. What a disappointment. To think that I voted for this guy!
    He has his nose so deep in the trough, that hopefully he will choke on the slop the unions feed him.
    Let’s go Tea Party, choose someone who will represent us instead of the greedy unions.
    By the way. How much did McGarrigle get from the unions to betray his constituents?
    Sounds like he comes cheap.

  5. I just want to point out that yesterday, Wisconsin has become America’s 25th right-to-vote state.
    Let’s put Scott Walker into the Oval Office,

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