A significant step toward greater worker freedom was taken today in the Louisiana legislature, where the House Labor Committee voted to approved House Bill 418, legislation that will end government withholding of union dues from public employee paychecks.
If this bill is approved by the legislature and signed into law by Gov. Jindal, public employees in Louisiana will no longer be forced to fund union political activities against their will. Prior to the hearing, Americans for Tax Reform sent the following letter to committee members encouraging them to support this much-needed reform:
To: Members of the Louisiana House Labor & Industrial Relations Committee,
On behalf of Americans for Tax Reform and our supporters across Louisiana, I write in strong support of House Bill 418, legislation introduced by Rep. Stuart Bishop that would both increase worker freedom and get Louisiana government out of the business of acting as the money bagman for government employee unions and their political activities. By ending state withholding of union fees and dues from government employee paychecks, HB 418 will stop an indefensible use of state resources and give Louisiana public employees the freedom to decide whether or not they would like to join a union and fund its political activities.
HB 418 recognizes the right of workers to organize, but ensures that workers have freedom of association and are not forced to join and fund a union against their will. If passed, HB 418 will end the use of state resources to collect union dues via paycheck withholding. With passage of this important reform, no employee will be forced to see his or her money used to support a political cause he or she does not believe in.
If unions are providing a service to workers, then they will have no problem making the case for why workers should pay dues. However, research indicates that without proper safeguards, many workers are forced to give up hard earned wages against their will. A study by the Heritage Foundation found that states that passed paycheck protection laws like HB 418 saw union spending on political campaigns and activities fall by an average by 50% after such laws were enacted. This reveals that often the goals of the union leadership do not reflect the priorities of the workers. HB 418 would ensure that every Louisiana worker has the freedom to choose whether or not to support union political activities. When given a choice, it seems that many workers decide to not contribute to political activities that they were previously forced to fund against their will.
HB 418 saves taxpayer dollars by taking the government out of the dues collection business. No more administrative or financial resources will be used by state government to funnel money to unions that, in turn, often use that very money to work against the interests of Louisiana taxpayers. If the unions want the money, they will have to ask for it themselves.
In both principle and practice, HB 418 is a good reform that will expand economic freedom in Louisiana. Paycheck protection laws protect worker rights and taxpayer dollars; as such, I strongly urge you to support HB 418.
Grover G. Norquist, President
Americans for Tax Reform