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Union workers need ‘paycheck protection’

When it comes to an employee’s paycheck, the Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry and the Arizona Manufacturers Council firmly believe that employees know best how and where to spend their money.

Employees have diverse opinions on political candidates and issues. Unfortunately, under the current system, employees who wish to join a union will likely have a portion of their union dues diverted to political advocacy without their consent.

Political action taken by unions often does not accurately reflect the desires or intentions of its membership. Oftentimes, the union will spend money opposing the very issues or candidates a union member supports.

For example, in the last election cycle, polling showed that roughly 30 percent of union members voted for Sen. John McCain. But nearly all of the union resources in the presidential race were directed against him. How can we prevent this behind-the-back maneuver from occurring?

Six states already have passed what are known as “paycheck protection” laws. Washington state, Michigan and Wyoming have passed paycheck protection laws that apply to all unionized workers. Utah and Idaho have passed paycheck protection laws that apply only to employees in public sector unions. And Ohio requires written employee authorization to deduct paycheck amounts for “hard money” Federal contributions to labor union political action committees.

These state laws further the landmark 1988 U.S. Supreme Court decision, Communication Workers. v. Beck, which established that union dues cannot be coerced from employees for activities outside of collective bargaining, including political activities.

It also ruled that workers are entitled to a refund of the portion of their dues spent on political activity.

Here in Arizona, State Rep. Sam Crump, R-Athlen, is leading the effort to protect Arizona workers from having their union dues spent on political advocacy without their express consent.

Arizona law (A.R.S. Sec. 23-352) already prohibits an employer from withholding or diverting any portion of an employee’s wages unless authorized by state or federal law, or if the employee provides written authorization.

Crump’s bill simply provides additional paycheck protection along those lines to all Arizona employees who are members of unions.

Crump’s bill (HB 2274) requires affirmative consent before union dues can be used for political activity. The bill advanced out of the House Government Committee by 6-3 vote. (State Sen. Steve Pierce, R-Phoenix, has introduced similar legislation, SB 1268.)

Arizona’s Right to Work status is a major reason the state experienced substantial job growth over the past several decades. Providing workers with a right to determine whether their dues are directed to political activity is consistent with Arizona’s employment culture and would further the U.S. Supreme Court’s Beck decision.

Union members will still be free to contribute to political causes. However they would no longer be coerced into doing so as a condition of union membership.

By providing workers with the freedom to choose which candidates and issues to support, we can improve the transparency and accountability of funding campaigns.

Glenn Hamer

president & CEO

Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry


GOP senators who OK’d stimulus are traitors

Republican senators Susan Collins of Maine, Olympia Snowe of Maine and Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania should switch parties if they’re going to vote for the lousy ideas that comprise the Democratic raison d’ĂȘtre.

If the Republican Party is going to be in the minority, let it at least purge itself of those who consistently show themselves as hostile to the idea that every individual has the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Good riddance to all RINOs (Republicans In Name Only).

Mark Kalinowski

New York, N.Y.

Geithner a train wreck in slow motion

If you are a hard-line Democrat and watched the Timothy Geithner presentation Feb. 10, you probably have a hairline crack in the chalice where all your liberal values are held. That crack will grow.

Geithner put to the lie myths that (1) any man is indispensable (2) he is the only man who could do the job and (3) that he should be the secretary of the United States Treasury. Geithner is a train wreck in slow motion.

Capable men in positions of power have ideas, facts, figures, plans and concepts for the future, things they can talk about and explain with a clarity of vision most of us do not have. Nor does Geithner.

Geithner should have explained how $150 billion in bad mortgages strangled an economy with $1.6 trillion in circulation. Could the problem not have been solved quickly by guaranteeing the mortgages? Historically half of those non-performing mortgages would right themselves as their holders took second jobs, trimmed expenses or put mom to work.

And, where is Henry Paulson and the secret $350 billion? Did he go to China on his 41st trip in 20 years? Why no questions on this matter?

The numbers we have been told do not add up to $9.3 trillion. What kind of shell game is this?

Geithner’s presentation did nothing to ameliorate the situation and in response, Wall Street shed another 5 percent of all equity value. At this rate we have one month before our publicly traded companies are worth zero.

Goodbye, Mr. Geithner and don’t let the swinging doors at the White House bang your butt.

Adrian Vance

Lakeport, Calif.

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