Democrats and progressives like to portray themselves as pro-choice, but that certainly isn’t the case when it comes to the rights of workers to have a say in what they do with their hard-earned income. This is on full display in Pennsylvania, with the backlash against legislation that would protect workers’ paychecks.
In a Lancaster Online editorial, staff writer Gil Smart responded to a recent Reuters op-ed by ATR’s Grover Norquist & Patrick Gleason that made the case for passing paycheck protection legislation in Pennsylvania. Smart took aim at ATR’s assertion that the pending legislation would “empower workers – making union leadership more responsive and accountable to them.” Smart retorts:
Empowering workers to what? Withhold support from the union? Slit their own throats, economically? ... This notion that these bills are about empowering workers is simply dishonest. This is about disempowering them. … It’s about limiting wages, limiting benefits, maybe limiting job security.
Smart can believe whatever he wants, but union members themselves agree with ATR that paycheck protection will make union bosses more accountable to rank-and-file workers. The Commonwealth Foundation highlights a recent report that illustrates this fact:
The Educational Intelligence Agency summarized a survey of National Education Association (NEA) members, disclosing that teacher union members hardly ever hear from their state or national union officials: ‘More than 60 percent had zero contact with the state affiliate board, more than 70 percent had zero contact with an RA delegate, and more than 80 percent had zero contact with a member of the NEA board of directors.
Under a system in which the state government serves as the money bagman for government union bosses, rank-and-file workers all to often looked to as nothing more than ATMs for government union lobbyists and political action committees. When workers have say in how they spend their hard-earned income and what political causes they support, union bosses will be forced to talk to and be responsive to workers. That’s why ATR is urging Pennsylvania legislators to end the use of taxpayer resources for union dues collections.