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Paycheck protection: Tough to swallow

| Monday, March 20, 2017, 9:00 p.m.

As union honchos for government workers describe it, the paycheck protection legislation that passed the state Senate last month amounts to a political gag order on workers. But if there's any actual “gagging” going on, it's in attempting to swallow this union shibboleth.

The Senate bill bars state, local government and school district employers from deducting any portion of union dues from workers' paychecks that fund political activity. Deductions for contract negotiations and other costs remain unchanged.

The president of the Service Employees International Union Local 668 says the Senate is trying to silence workers. And a web posting by the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers says the legislation is intended to “financially cripple” state unions.

What's prohibited would be the publicly funded collection of union dues for political purposes. Rank-and-file union members would be free to fund their unions' politics separate from their dues.

“Because of the special political privilege ... Pennsylvanians are forced to act as the collection agency for union leaders' political activities,” writes Bob Dick for the Commonwealth Foundation.

And consider: If a state politico is caught using public resources to advance his/her career, that person likely would go to jail — as demonstrated by more than a few Harrisburg lawmakers.

State taxpayers shouldn't have to swallow the cost of collecting government unions' political money.

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