Letter: Union attack

To the editor:

Sponsors of HB 2023 claim the bill protects union members. This bill doesn’t protect union members. It tries to destroy unions with a brazen assault on 1st Amendment rights.

Current law prohibits spending union dues to support political candidates. Unions already have PACs for politicking; and membership and political contributions are already completely voluntary.

Technically, HB 2023 allows PACs, but it renders PACs useless by explicitly prohibiting unions from endorsing political candidates. This has nothing to do with money or where it comes from. Unions could not endorse political candidates, period.

HB 2023 prohibits unions from using “any income … directly or indirectly” for political activities. The bill expands the definition of political activity beyond the support of candidates to include “activities or causes … of ideological nature.” This has nothing to do with money or where it comes from.  HB 2023 forbids unions from promoting ideas.

The salaries of union leaders and staff are paid with dues dollars. If dues money can’t be used to promote any ideology; this completely destroys unions’ freedoms of speech, press, and petitioning of the government. I suppose unions could still assemble, as long as they assemble in silence.

But a teachers’ union president could not speak about equitable school funding.  Police union staff could not meet with legislators or provide testimony regarding legislation. Unions certainly couldn’t join discussions about amending the state constitution. Unions couldn’t even publish a political editorial in their own member newsletter.

What part of “shall make no law abridging” don’t these yahoos understand?