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Union Antagonists Targeting Dues Checkoff

Last month, the Alabama legislature passed (and outgoing Governor Riley signed) the latest in a series of anti-union attacks happening around the country, as it prohibited dues deductions for public employees if any of those dues are to be used for “political activity.”  The provision is shockingly harsh, making certain violations of the statute a criminal offense, even though the dues checkoff procedure is voluntary, and defining “political activities” extremely broadly.  The bill was tauted as an "ethics reform" measure, but that's a joke: it was a naked political attack on unions that are fighting to protect the gains made by fire fighters, teachers, and other public employees.


This legislation follows similar laws enacted in Utah and Idaho.  In 2009, the Supreme Court upheld Idaho’s “Voluntary Contributions Act,” which also prohibited payroll deductions for political purposes, even though it simultaneously permitted payroll deductions if not conducted by unions (for instance, payroll deductions to virtually any charitable group).  Since that 2009 decision, more and more legislatures are targeting dues deductions as a way of penalizing and attacking public employee unions that have succeeded in protecting members’ benefits from politicians.

Comments (2) -

  • Ronald Rompala (Pittsburgh)

    1/7/2011 5:25:42 PM |

    They lay us off citing the economy, then call us back when conflagration occurs (Detroit & L.A.), they blame us for pensions that not only we deserve, but they agreed in the past to give us (too many to name here),  and now they want to take away our right to endorse (or not) them?  What the hell will they try next?  Got to give them credit though.  Never ever thought protecting the public would make me such a bad person.  

  • Walter Dix (Broward County)

    1/12/2011 1:23:37 PM |

    This is just another attempt to suppress Public Sector Unions. The case of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 130 S.Ct. 876 (2010), was a landmark decision by the United States Supreme Court holding that corporate funding of independent political broadcasts in candidate elections cannot be limited under the First Amendment. The 5–4 decision, in favor of Citizens United, resulted from a dispute over whether the non-profit corporation Citizens United could air a film critical of Hillary Clinton. Now Corporations can spend endless amounts of money on political activities while States, like Alabama and Idaho curtail the rights of public employees to participate in the political process. Just anther attack by the conservative right against Public Sector  Unions'.

    I am afraid this is just the start of a very bad precedent.

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