Rep. Tim Scott (R-SC) has introduced The Empower Employees Act to give federal employees the option of choosing whether or not to contribute to a union by prohibiting the automatic deduction of union dues from any federal government employee’s paycheck.
“Federal union employees enjoy benefits far greater than those in the private sector and the unions’ power to bargain is supported by the dues they automatically collect from employees’ paychecks each month,” Scott said. “This bill does not prohibit federal workers from joining a union or paying union dues. In fact, this legislation would increase employees’ freedom by allowing them to choose to pay union dues rather than having them taken out of employees’ paychecks before the workers even see the money.”
Sen. Jim DeMint (SC) will be introducing companion legislation when the Senate reconvenes. “This is a simple issue, workers should have the right to make their own decisions with their paycheck and to choose whether they want to pay dues to union bosses,” said Senator DeMint. “Unions have been rapidly losing popularity with American workers, as total union membership has declined over forty percent since 1983. But union bosses have now turned to filling their coffers with taxpayer dollars by automatically deducting union dues from federal workers paychecks. Let’s instead empower federal employees to make their own choices about their paychecks. I thank Tim Scott for his leadership on workers’ rights and protecting taxpayers.”
Scott pointed out that time and again, when the automatic deduction of union dues has been stopped, there have been dramatic decreases in the amount of dues collected.
To support the correlation between automatic deductions and membership, Scott cited Rich Lowry of the National Review, who wrote on March 1, 2011, “When Indiana governor Mitch Daniels ended collective bargaining and the automatic collection of dues in 2005, the number of members paying dues plummeted by roughly 90 percent. In 2007, New York City’s Transit Authority briefly stopped automatically collecting dues for the Transport Workers Union, and dues fell off by more than a third.”
Scott asserts that the automatic deduction of union dues is little more than a taxpayer subsidy to organized labor at a time when the unions are battling an overall membership decline. The administrative burden of funding public sector unions should be shifted to the unions and away from the American taxpayer. “The current system uses taxpayer resources to do the work of collecting dues, rather than the unions doing it themselves,” Scott said. “Government workers are clearly the target of unions, as recent numbers show less than 7 percent of private sector workers claim union membership while 36 percent of public sector employees are union members.”