By Steve Gunn
INDIANAPOLIS – As an organization involved in the political process, the Indiana Chamber of Commerce has to do all of its own dirty work.
It collects dues from its members on its own. It collects voluntary political donations from members on its own. It receives no assistance from state government in generating a steady and reliable flow of revenue.
Chamber officials believe what’s good for one should be good for all. That’s why they’re calling on Indiana legislators to ban the practice of teachers unions automatically deducting union dues and political contributions from members’ paychecks.
Several state lawmakers told the Indianapolis Star that they plan on introducing legislation to ban automatic deductions for all public service labor unions, not just teachers unions.
“Government entities shouldn’t be in the business of collecting union dues or, particularly, political donations,” Kevin Brinegar, president of the Indiana chamber, told the Star. “Right now they do both. Unions and the organizations that receive the dues ought to collect those individually and separately, just like we do.”
Officials from the Indiana State Teachers Association seem to be panicking over the proposed legislation, with good reason. Several other states, including Wisconsin, have taken steps to ban automatic union dues deductions, and union revenue has fallen dramatically.
With so many members refusing to pay on their own, unions are forced to lay off their own employees, and have much less money to spend on government lobbying and campaign contributions.
In short, unions lose a lot of power when they lose the ability to steal money from people’s paychecks. That’s their problem. If they did such a great job of representing the interests of their members, very few would refuse to pay their dues voluntarily. If the money doesn’t show up through the mail, perhaps it’s a message that the rank-and-fail is pretty disgusted with their union leadership.
Either way, the Indiana Chamber is correct. Taxpayers should not shoulder the responsibility of snatching money from employees on behalf of wealthy private organizations. Dues payment and collection is a private matter between union members and their leaders. It certainly should not be the public’s problem.