PA moves to block public unions from withholding dues from paychecks

We’ll never see anything like this go through at the federal level while Barack Obama is president, but the Keystone State is is mounting an effort to protect public sector workers from having dues automatically deducted from their pay and then used to fund political campaigns. It comes in the form of a bill which has passed the state senate and now moves on to the House. (Fox 34 News)

Pennsylvania’s state senate approved a controversial bill Wednesday which would prevent unions from taking money from workers’ paychecks and using it for political purposes.

Senate Bill 501, dubbed the “Paycheck Protection” bill by supporters, narrowly passed a senate vote by 26-23. Despite four Republicans voting against the legislation, enough voted for it to pass. It will now await assignment in a House committee.

Currently, public sector union workers, such as teachers, police officers, and firefighters, have money deducted from their paychecks which can go towards political reasons or groups, such as PACs. The “Paycheck Protection” bill would be “leveling the playing field,” according to State Sen. Scott Wagner.

Wagner has attempted this before but the bill hasn’t yet made it into law. The odds of getting it done this time aren’t much better than they would be in Washington, sadly, because Pennsylvania’s Governor, Democrat Tom Wolf, has benefited quite handsomely from the status quo. His campaign snagged almost $3.5M in donations from public worker unions last time around, so expecting him to break out his pen and cut off the cash spigot would be a bit of a stretch to say the least.

So is there a need for this sort of reform? Let’s take a look at the data from Open Secrets on the all time top groups donating money to political campaigns and how much each has ponied up on a national level.


Of the top eleven groups, seven of them are unions, with the public sector unions at the front of the pack. And where is their money going? If you look at the top of the list, SEIU has racked up more than $222M in payouts and of that, 99% went to Democrats. Scanning down the list at the rest of the unions the proportions are pretty much the same. You have to make it to #7 (Las Vegas Sands) before you find a group giving significantly to the GOP and they only managed a quarter of what SEIU was kicking in. Now to consider this in terms of the Pennsylvania question, this is a pretty evenly divided state. Roughly half of the residents will fall into either of the Dem/GOP, Liberal/Conservative wings so it’s unlikely that all of the union members are Democrats. How much of that union cash came from the pockets of people voting for a conservative agenda and was pumped into the campaigns of Democrats?

But don’t let that bother you, folks. Just shoot down the legislation because… look for the union label.