Archive for Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Kansas House approves bill prohibiting unions from making paycheck deductions for political activities

February 23, 2011


— A bill prohibiting unions from making paycheck deductions for political activities won preliminary approval Wednesday in the Kansas House.

The measure, which also bans public employee unions from endorsing candidates, was advanced 80-36, with final passage expected today. Only Republicans supported the legislation.

Organized labor and its supporters in the Legislature said House Bill 2130 was an attack on the ability of workers to organize and participate as a group in the political process.

“This is a nice attempt to stick it to unions,” said Rep. Mike Slattery, D-Mission.

Supporters of the bill say it is aimed at helping union workers who disagreed with their union’s political activities.

But union supporters said union members can always opt out of not belonging to the union or not wanting their dues used for political activities.

The bill is being pushed by the Kansas Chamber of Commerce and Kansas chapter of Americans for Prosperity.

House Democratic Leader Paul Davis of Lawrence called the bill “a naked assault on the ability of teachers, prison guards, carpenters, construction workers and other working Kansans to participate in the political process.”


Jeff Zamrzla 7 years, 1 month ago

No union dues here in Kansas are used for that anyway! Morons to the rescue

Paul R Getto 7 years, 1 month ago

Now, yellowdog, the R's will do anything to keep from an honest discussion of the budget, taxes, what level of services the public expects and what they are willing to pay for. Give them a chance to chase some more unicorns before they get down to business in May.

Corey Williams 7 years, 1 month ago

old aren't So maybe someone should do both the thinking and spelling for you.

voevoda 7 years, 1 month ago

If the unions should be prohibited from endorsing political candidates or making donations, on the grounds that some members might not agree with those endorsements, shouldn't the same apply to the Chamber of Commerce and Americans for Prosperity? Of course, the Chamber of Commerce and Americans for Prosperity prefer to run those ugly negative ads that smear the opponent, sneaking around campaign regulations by not actually endorsing a candidate. I'd rather have the unions with their positive endorsements--it's more honest!

notanota 7 years ago

I think the same thing should also apply to all the businesses that employ people who may not agree with their endorsements. Or to stores and restaurants. Some of them may take customer money and spend it on political endorsements with which they do not agree.

Brad Avery 7 years ago

This bill is blatantly unconstitutional, especially after the right wing hacks on the Supreme Court told multi-billionaire corporatists they can spend as much as they want on political campaigns.

Paul R Getto 7 years ago

doolindalton : Good points and I tend to agree. If similar legal questions come before the Supremes, it will be interesting to see what they say about it. Perhaps Justice Thomas will actually speak out loud during oral arguments and let us know what he may be thinking. It's been 5-6 years since he asked a question; maybe union-busting will inspire him to speak.

sweatybutcher 7 years ago

Unions also have a democratic system of representation. You can always go to your local meetings, participate, serve in elected capacity or speak out. You'd be surprised how socially conservative most workers are, yet the bottom line is the Union helps with the bottom line- for the workers.

Brock Masters 7 years ago

I am not a fan of unions - they tend to endorse political candidates with who I am ideologically opposed, BUT I think this law is wrong. Whether I like unions or not, whether I agree with them or not they still have a right to free speech.

Government censorship, whether "law" or not is wrong. No ands, ifs, or buts.

usnsnp 7 years ago

If this law is passed and applies only to the unions it will be judged to be un-constitutional. If it applies to one organization that collects dues it should apply to all organizations that collect dues, like the Chamber of Commerce, the Rotary Club, VFW, etc.

Brock Masters 7 years ago

As I stated previously I don't agree with the law, but perhaps one thing different about the unions and those groups you cited is that the union dues are taken directly from the paycheck and in certain situations belonging to a union is a condition of work - no pay union dues, no work.

notanota 7 years ago

Not in Kansas it isn't. We're a "right to work" state. And how is the direct deposit of optional union fees any different from my pay deductions going directly to an insurance company that might have political endorsements I don't agree with? What about the portion of my company's profits that are used to finance political activism?

Brock Masters 7 years ago

As I said, "perhaps" which means that I wasn't sure and just exploring the issue.

And again, I don't support the law.

acg 7 years ago

Actually ksyellowdog you're wrong. Having spent 12 years working for a Union labor organization in Kansas (1996-2008) I can tell you for a fact that 5% of each of those members' dues payments go into the PAC fund. The locals in Kansas only have a state PAC fund, meaning they can only financially support the activities of candidates for state offices, but the district council of that organization has both federal and state PAC funds, giving them the right to financially support federal or state candidates.

acg 7 years ago

Another common misconception is that dues is taken directly from the paycheck. You have a 2-fold dues structure with a lot of Union labor organizations. That would be a: window dues (the amount per member that is due to the local they belong to for monthly membership dues--usually between $20 and $30 per member per month--my husband's window dues is $23.55/month) and b: working dues check-off (which is the amount, per hour, that is added to a member's wage, taxed, and then deducted back off his/her wages to be sent to the district council of that member's labor organization. In my husband's case it was $1.08 per working hour). Window dues is generally where PAC fund donations are taken from and working dues check-off is how a union funds its activities, i.e., running the benefits office, paying agents and organizer salaries, paying for supplies, etc.

William Weissbeck 7 years ago

The law is likely unenforceable. Is the AG going to waste precious resources - especially when it is spread so thin keeping out illegals and overseeing abortion providers? The Kochs can't enforce this in a private suit, they aren't union members.

SnakeFist 7 years ago

Now the conservatives are telling us we can't voluntarily allow a particular group to deduct dues from our paychecks. Is that their idea of less government intrusion in our lives?

gudpoynt 7 years ago


that's what the protesters in the capitol should be shouting. Not simply "Vote No", but how about: "LESS GOVERNMENT INTRUSION".

Another blatant hypocrisy with no explanation, other than the obvious conclusion that it's an effort to cover their assets while debilitating their opposition.

You can cut the cognitive dissonance of Republican legislators with a knife.

gudpoynt 7 years ago

Maybe I'm just getting older and more used to politics, but doesn't it seem that this legislature is more blatantly hypocritical than usual?

Republicans: Do we support unlimited, anonymous corporate donations to influential political action committees such as Americans for Prosperity? Of course we do! It's freedom of speech!

Do we support extending the same privilege to labor unions? Of course not! It's anti-business. Bad for the economy. Ba-a-a-a-a-ad. Plus, not all union members support the candidates to whom their unions may contribute campaign funding, which disenfranchises Kansans, and limits the freedom of their individual political speech.

Democrats: Um... union members can opt out of donating part of their dues to PACs.

Republicans: Ahem.... (bloated pause). Ba-a-a-a-a-ad for business. Ba-a-a-a-a-ad.

Come on Republicans. Your conservative predecessors would be ashamed. Couldn't you at least launch some campaign claiming that unions are coercing their members to fund campaigns for socialist candidates who seek to undermine our basic liberties and establish a welfare state?

Your minimal effort to make your actions a little less blatantly hypocritical by propagandizing some drummed up fiction shows that you are slipping. Perhaps you're getting too comfortable with your super majority.

wastewatcher 7 years ago

Obama was the one who said " there was an election and I won, get used to it". It seems in Kansas the Republicans are now giving Obama's words back to the Democrats and Davis wants to whine.. Elections have consequences and Kansans spoke loud and clear and the LIBERALS lost big time.

Gedanken 7 years ago

Seriously? I am going to call you out on this one. Show me a speech or a video clip where Obama has said that phrase.

Now, plenty of other people has said that quote. In fact, at one time I saw it being attributed to Bush. It makes for some great propaganda.

Carol Bowen 7 years ago

Is this topic on Governor Brownback's "Road Map"?

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