It is the sound of panic.
It is the sound of alarm that the supposed ideal of unions – freedoms of assembly, freedom of choice, and the very value of unions – is about to be severely tested. Ominously, it is about to be tested by union members themselves.
The bill does several things. First, it allows union members to request refunds of union dues if the union uses those dues for political purposes the union member disagrees with.
Assume for a moment that a member disagrees with the political positions of a certain candidate running for office. The member is not going to vote for the candidate so why should his dollars go to a candidate that he does not support. The Supreme Court has ruled the donations to a candidate are a form of political speech, so the question then becomes why is a union member forced into political speech with which he disagrees?
Taking the argument a step further, what if that same union member was not only not voting for the union supported candidate, but was working on the opponent’s campaign or donating money to the opponent’s campaign? The union member is effectively having the union using his own money against the member’s work and money for the other candidate. At the very least, the effect of the union member’s contribution to the opponent is diminished by his dues going to the candidate he does not support.
By any stretch of the imagination, that is unconscionable.
The second part of the bill makes it illegal to require the employers to be forced to collect dues for the unions out of union member’s paychecks.
There are several practical basis for this provision. First, in the case of public sector unions, why should the government be doing the work to collect dues for a private organization? Can you see the outcry if dues for another organization, say the Tea Party, were to be taken from member’s paychecks? The outcry from the Left would be deafening and rightfully so. There is no reason why the government should be using tax dollars from its constituents to do accounting work for a private organization.
With a private company, the reasoning is even more clear. Why should management of the company provide accounting services for a group that often demonizes them and threatens them? In other words, why should any company be forced to do work for those who wish to harm the company?
The answer to this is simple. Like every other organization, the unions should rely on dues being paid by their members and not an automatic deduction from the member’s paycheck.
But union leaders know what that means. When it comes to money in their pockets and a choice of whether to pay union dues, or a forced deduction from their paychecks, people are going to opt for the choice. Men and women – the very men and women the unions say they represent – are going to vote and “speak” with their own money.
Unions don’t want their members to be able to do that.
Doug Martin, a spokesman for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, promised a legal challenge after the Senate signs off and, as expected, Gov. Rick Scott signs the legislation. Martin said the legislation would all but shut down the union. All of AFSCME’s 19,000 members have their dues collected through payroll deduction, Martin said. For the most part, union dues do not go directly for political contributions, Martin said. But they do support worker rallies and other union functions that could fall under the bill’s restriction on political activity, he said.
The legislation will not stand up in court, Martin predicted.
“Government does not get to choose speech and it does not get to choose the organizations that you belong to,” he said.
Martin is right. The government doesn’t get to choose speech and organizations an individual. This bill eliminates government doing just that. It offers more freedom to union members rather than restricting their free speech. It allows union members to decide on their associations and support of those organizations rather than the government or private companies taking money out of their paychecks.
The conclusion that cannot be escaped is that if the unions are so sure they are correct in the support of the rank and file members, there will not be a difference in the monies coming into the union coffers. The fact is unions and the candidates they support know that won’t happen.
Representative Cruz is correct that the measure is about silencing the voices of people. What she fails to address and realize is that the voices that are being silenced are the voices of the union members who have their dues and political voices stolen by other people – people she supports.
I belong to several organizations and I pay my dues without the government or my employer ever having taken a dime from my paycheck for those dues.
Representative Cruz and Doug Martin must believe that the workers of Florida aren’t capable of the same thing. They must believe that the everyday, common working working man and woman can’t pay dues to a group that purportedly represents them. Martin and Cruz wants the government to continue to intrude into the pockets of the working men and women of Florida.
“What’s the real reason for this bill?” asked House Democratic Leader Ron Saunders of Key West. “Two words: political payback.”
Payback to who? The working people? The Constitution?
A better question, Representative Saunders is “why are you against this bill?”
“Political payback” is indeed the answer to that question.