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Archive for Thursday, March 14, 2013

Senate approves Chamber-backed bill opposed by unions

March 14, 2013

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— With only Republican support, the Kansas Senate on Thursday approved a bill prohibiting public employee unions from deducting money from members' paychecks to pay for political activities.

Supporters of the business-backed bill said it would remove the state from being involved with paycheck deductions for political purposes.

"We are withdrawing the government from any activity involved in these payroll deductions," state Sen. Julia Lynn, R-Olathe.

Opponents of the bill said it was a thinly disguised effort by conservative Republicans to throttle the Kansas National Education Association and Kansas Organization of State Employees, whose political action committees support Democrats and moderate Republicans.

"The Legislature has crossed the line," said Sen. Tom Holland, D-Baldwin City. "That is flat-out wrong. That is tyranny," he said.

"This is an effort to try to make it, if not impossible, then extremely difficult for our public employees in Kansas to participate in the political process," said Senate Democratic Leader Anthony Hensley of Topeka, who is a teacher and member of the KNEA.

But Sen. Greg Smith, R-Overland Park, who also is a teacher, said teachers can write personal checks or set up private accounts to set aside funds for PACs.

"I have no problem expressing my political opinion. I write a check. It's not hard to do. This doesn't take anyone's voice away," Smith said.

The bill was adopted 24-16. Only Republicans voted for it; the opposition included all eight Democrats and eight Republicans.

Lynn and Sen. Rob Olson, R-Olathe, said the state shouldn't expend money to make these transactions. But Hensley said that under the union contracts, the unions reimburse the state for each transaction, and that the state is probably making money off the deal.

During hearings on the bill, Eric Stafford, a lobbyist for the Kansas Chamber of Commerce, told a House committee, "I need this bill passed so we can get rid of public sector unions." He later said that wasn't what he meant and that he said that when he got frustrated when pressed by a legislator on what the Chamber wanted.

A similar bill was approved by the House, but Senate leaders combined two business-backed bills into one, so the measure will go back to the House for consideration.

The other bill allows an employer to withhold wages for several reasons, including overpayment or loan repayment.

Comments

JayhawkFan1985 1 year, 4 months ago

Stafford didn't mean what he said when pressed about what he meant? It's clear what the chamber thinks of the 47% which is really the 99%...

This is nothing more than government of the rich, by the rich, for the rich and S$&w everyone else...

The chamber should lose its tax exempt status as it is not a nonpartisan organization.

Kansas...the new Libya/Iraq/north Korea...

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Katara 1 year, 4 months ago

FTA:"I have no problem expressing my political opinion. I write a check. It's not hard to do. This doesn't take anyone's voice away," Smith said.

You should have no problem with eliminating all payroll deductions. I highly encourage you, Sen. Smith, to push for it.

No more payroll deduction for United Way. No more payroll deduction for parking. No more payroll deduction for professional membership dues. No more payroll deduction for health insurance. No more payroll deduction for 401k. etc.

Everyone can just write a check. I hear it isn't hard to do.

Heck, I wouldn't be surprised if the banking industry would completely support you in your efforts, Sen. Smith. That would increase the number of checks written. Have you priced how much new checks cost now?

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Orwell 1 year, 4 months ago

The Chamber and the Governor know, as you should, that this action will reduce the resources of their opponents in some degree. It's evidence of the right wing's inability to win arguments on the merits that they're willing to use state power to gain even that limited advantage.

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chootspa 1 year, 4 months ago

The teacher's union has endorsed Republican candidates.

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appleaday 1 year, 4 months ago

How about no more payroll deduction for Kansas income tax?

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Katara 1 year, 4 months ago

And we can eliminate payroll deduction for Federal and FICA taxes.

We can just write checks!!!

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NotAGolfer 1 year, 4 months ago

That's a GREAT idea. No payroll deductions for anything. If every American had to write out a check for their taxes, taxes WOULD come down. Payroll deductions are a way to disguise and prioritize people's money for them. The United Way, despite all the supposed reformation, is still a corrupt, wasteful organization. Corporations spend untold dollars allowing their high-paid managers (taking time away from their productive activity--some in full time United Way support roles) to be used as pawns, to coerce employees into giving to the United Way (instead of, perhaps, their charity of choice).

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1southernjayhawk 1 year, 4 months ago

I'm glad to see the legislature take this action. There is no reason that government should be involved in union dues collection activity. Unions can continue to raise money like every other group.

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Katara 1 year, 4 months ago

So can the United Way but I don't see the Legislature cracking down on their intrusion into the workplace.

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NotAGolfer 1 year, 4 months ago

They should. The United Way is a wasteful organization. The only reason it can say it has "low expenses" compared to the money it donates is that it doesn't count the untold hours that the managers of different companies devote to coercing employees to give money. Fortune 500 companies support full time managers over various divisions, plus a host of other part-time managers in various departments. The United Way doesn't "count" the cost of sucking people away from creative and productive activity into coercive activities. When your boss's boss tells you that he wants everone to give to the United Way, people do it, whether they'd rather give to a different cause or not.

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NotAGolfer 1 year, 4 months ago

Who's dictating how your paycheck gets divided? THE UNIONS. You people have logic problems.

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ATR920 1 year, 4 months ago

I dont think you know what logic means.

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Thomas Bryce 1 year, 4 months ago

Union Membership in Kansas IS NOT Mandatory. Membership in the Union DOES NOT require Payroll Deduction. I "Dictate" How MY paycheck gets divided as far as Payroll deductions go. No One Else .

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ATR920 1 year, 4 months ago

I will be filling a law suit to make sure fellow teachers can't get their YMCA dues deducted or any other faith based org. If I can't get my union dues deducted then Christian org surely can't either. The state can't let the church benefit from tax payers.

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NotAGolfer 1 year, 4 months ago

That sounds completely fair, if this happens. Does the state handle payroll for organizations that deduct for YMCA and Christian orgs, though? Or is that a strawman argument? If private companies deduct for these things using their own HR personnel to do payroll, and if the employees have a completely free choice on whether or not to give, then that's their business.

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NotAGolfer 1 year, 4 months ago

"The Legislature has crossed the line," said Sen. Tom Holland, D-Baldwin City. "That is flat-out wrong. That is tyranny," he said.

Who's tyrannical? The GOP for saying that people can CHOOSE whether or not to support unions on their own check-writing time? Or the unions for using tax-payer money (from Dems and Repubs alike) to automatically withhold money from people's paycheck for unions, which use almost all their money to support Democrats, who write law to make it easier for unions to coerce money from people?

You people have logic problems.

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MarcoPogo 1 year, 4 months ago

"You people have logic problems."

You like Carrot Top. You like Carrot Top. You like Carrot Top. You like Carrot Top. You like Carrot Top. You like Carrot Top.

There, I've also posted the same sentence several times. Now it's an inarguable fact.

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NotAGolfer 1 year, 4 months ago

The unions use taxpayer money (from Dems and Repubs alike) to administrate their dues collection that supports mostly Democratic candidates. That's what I said and what I meant. Unions have bought off past politicians to get govt to cover their administrative costs (and to make the dues come out of paychecks like taxes do--less noticed and less questioned than if the employeees had to write out checks each time).

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Katara 1 year, 4 months ago

FTA: " But Hensley said that under the union contracts, the unions reimburse the state for each transaction, and that the state is probably making money off the deal."

You have reading problems.

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weeslicket 1 year, 4 months ago

how is money from my own paycheck being "coerced" from me by the union that i chose to join? it isn't.

is there any proof in evidence that this sort of coersion happens (at all)? no. not from any testimony given on this bill, because there was no testimony to this effect. just a couple of "i've heard it said" comments from a few legislators (and yes, they were Rs).

what is wrong with KNEA supporting mostly dems and moderate repubs? nothing. KNEA is an advocacy group (that's your 1st amendment again), and it just so happens that in this state, that means supporting mostly dems and moderate republicans.

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NotAGolfer 1 year, 4 months ago

weeslicket, I don't want my tax money going to administrate dues collection for unions, whose politics I mostly don't like. If they want to collect dues, they should pay for the administrative costs out of their own dues. Why is that difficult for you to understand? What if some Christian organization wanted the state to collect tithes from state employees through their state paychecks? Would you want to pay for that administrative cost?

Then, yes, unions are always trying to pass or keep coercive laws, such as those that require open ballots and those that require employees of a unionized plant to join their union. In many states, they are successful in keeping these coercive tactics legal.

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oldexbeat 1 year, 4 months ago

fact: they do pay the state to collect dues. They pay. They pay. State makes money. Get over it.

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Katara 1 year, 4 months ago

FTA: " But Hensley said that under the union contracts, the unions reimburse the state for each transaction, and that the state is probably making money off the deal."

The unions do pay for the administrative costs of out of their own dues.

BTW, there are no "unionized" plants in KS. This is a right to work state. There is no requirement for employees to belong to a union.

Even in states, such as MO, where everyone pays unions dues, the part that goes to political activities must be refunded to/or not collected from an employee who objects to it. That was the result from the SCOTUS decision in the Communications Workers of America v. Beck. It is called exercising your Beck rights.

You must have more than just a reading or logic problem.

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weeslicket 1 year, 4 months ago

will our current group of lawmakers apply these coercive laws to themselves? the probablility of this approaches nothing at all.

do these lawmakers even realize what they've done?

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weeslicket 1 year, 4 months ago

also: doesn't it seem more than peculiar that the kansas chamber of commerce (a business advocacy group) got to speak on these bills when knea (an education advocacy group) did not?

knea (an education advocacy group) is not allowed to give testimony on bills that affect education and have NOTHING TO DO WITH "COMMERCE"; and yet, the kansas chamber of commerce is allowed to speak on these bills, even though they have nothing to do with commerce.

none of this passes the smell test. when officials behave in this way, bad things follow.

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Thomas Bryce 1 year, 4 months ago

My Voluntary Payroll deduction for Union Dues is more of a convenience for me than anything. Union Membership in Kansas is not Mandatory and Payroll Deductions are not required for membership. I will gladly write checks in the future and I will ALWAYS remember the Kansas Legislature for what it has done(or hasn't done) for its Citizens of this State. Every check will remind me.

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costello 1 year, 4 months ago

Keep the Kansas Chamber in mind while writing those checks too. I'm boycotting as many Chamber members as I can. I no longer shop at HyVee, Dillons, Aldi, or Target. These businesses come into our communities wanting our business and our money, then they support an organization which is actively working to buy the government and turn it against us.

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costello 1 year, 4 months ago

Kansas Chamber 'cornerstone' members: http://www.kansaschamber.org/membership/cornerstone-members/

Notice Cap Fed, Knology, and LMH are also on the list. Why is the hospital a member of this organization? BP, Kwik Trip, and Quik Shop. Home Depot and Best Buy. Frito Lay and Hallmark.

I wish I could find a full directory of the Chamber.

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appleaday 1 year, 4 months ago

Why are utility companies members?

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costello 1 year, 4 months ago

I've wondered that too. Difficult to boycott those if you live in their area. My electric company is Kaw Valley, which isn't on the list. That doesn't mean they're not a member, just not 'cornerstone' member.

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NotAGolfer 1 year, 4 months ago

The point is that now I, who don't agree with many union political stances, will no longer be forced to pay the administration costs of collecting union dues for the unions. As I wrote to weeslicket, What if you were forced to pay the administrative costs for churches to collect tithes from state employees who wanted to tithe to their church? Do we just let anybody who'd like to collect money from state employees for some cause burden state administrators with the task of handling the payroll deductions and forwarding the money? No, of course, we shouldn't.

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jafs 1 year, 4 months ago

According to the article, the unions pay back the state for those costs, and in fact the state may be making money on the deal.

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JayhawkFan1985 1 year, 4 months ago

Don't assume that right wingers can read...we already know they can't think for themselves. That's why they have faux news.

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weeslicket 1 year, 4 months ago

hi notagolfer, just happend to see this. have not seen the previous post yet. anyway, about churches, tithing and unions? are you suggesting that unions be classified as a tax exempt advocacy group? i'd never thought of that.

good one.

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voevoda 1 year, 4 months ago

One of the first things Hitler did to consolidate his power was dissolve labor unions.

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NotAGolfer 1 year, 4 months ago

You're a little mixed up. Hitler consolidated and "improved" unions. Unions loved and supported him and his socialist policies (before they discovered, too late, they'd sold their freedom for a bowl of proverbial porridge).
http://thegraph.com/2011/02/hitler-didnt-outlaw-unions-as-a-national-socialist-he-went-double-down-on-them/

Unions are doing the same now, giving politicians power in exchange for the politicians writing laws that coerce companies and the public into giving them what they want. If you give too much power to bureaucrats to control society (based on the politicians' promise to take care of you), they'll soon control society, having no more use for the useful idiots who helped them consolidate power.

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voevoda 1 year, 4 months ago

Hitler dissolved extant independent labor unions and then created Nazi "unions" that did the bidding of their political bosses. Labor unions in the US are nothing at all like the Nazi organizations, NotAGolfer. I'm afraid that you're the one who is a little mixed up.

When you talk about "useful idiots," surely you can't be referring to the unions--especially the teachers' union. Because if the unions were really helping the politicians in the state of Kansas to consolidate power, the politicians would be trying to emulate Hitler and suppress unions.

If you think that public employees' unions have gotten too much, blame the government officials who negotiated bad agreements. You certainly can't fault employees for trying to get the best compensation package for themselves that they can. That's a key component of a capitalist system.

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oldexbeat 1 year, 4 months ago

The truth came out under stress -- as is often the case with those that lie --

"During hearings on the bill, Eric Stafford, a lobbyist for the Kansas Chamber of Commerce, told a House committee, "I need this bill passed so we can get rid of public sector unions." He later said that wasn't what he meant and that he said that when he got frustrated when pressed by a legislator on what the Chamber wanted."

Yup. Facts. Screw teachers. Screw civil service. Screw non-partisan local elections. Etc. Koch Suckers LLC GOP Tea Party, Inc. rules. The Party Ist Always Right.

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pace 1 year, 4 months ago

I can chose to donate or support by automatic deduction from my paycheck, it is easy and how I would like to handle my support. Ther anti workinfg family attitude is what should be against the law.

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Richard Heckler 1 year, 4 months ago

The Chamber works for ALEC.

Do some homework.... The ALEC doctrine spells out the plan.

United States of ALEC – Bill Moyers http://www.democracynow.org/2012/9/27/the_united_states_of_alec_bill

ALEC – The Voice of Corporate Special Interests in State Legislatures http://www.pfaw.org/rww-in-focus/alec-the-voice-of-corporate-special-interests-state-legislatures

ALEX EXPOSED – The Koch Connection http://www.thenation.com/article/161973/alec-exposed-koch-connection

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