Government union political spending reflects the political views of union bosses, not those of members, Heritage Foundation expert James Sherk’s told members of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.

During testimony about a state proposal to protect government workers and reduce the power of union bosses, Sherk explained:

Government unions spend their members’ mandatory dues heavily on political causes that the union leadership supports. They do so without asking their members’ permission, and irrespective of the preferences of their membership. Taxpayers subsidize government union political fundraising through the publicly funded payroll system. The government automatically takes union dues out of government employees’ paychecks. This system privileges union bosses and their priorities at the expense of union members and taxpayers who hold different views. . . .

When unions must ask workers for permission to spend their dues on political causes, political spending drops dramatically. My research shows that union political spending falls by roughly half after states adopt paycheck-protection laws. Union bosses spend dues to prop up their own power instead of serving their membership.

Read more Heritage research on unions.

Do you think union members should have a say in where their dues are spent?

Comments (6)

Agnes Tillerson - July 18, 2014

If I was obliged to have my money given to a Union for a job, and, this money was going to be used for political purposes, then by all means, I want and would demand that I have a vote in how my money was going to be used. I consider that my right!

N Misasi - July 18, 2014

Yes they should and they should also be able, in every State and in every job…to opt out of membership too!

kate barnett - July 19, 2014

The union bosses are pursuing their own political agendas. The union members should vote on how dues are spent.

Kate Harms - July 19, 2014

If and when union members are required to pay dues; every cent must be accounted for in advance of consent to join and pay dues. Not one cent should be spent on any promotion of any candidate for election or any issue or policy without advance consent of each member. Any use of membership dues without explicit consent of dues payers is the equivalent of taxation without representation.

Jose Hernandez - July 20, 2014

My union always supports & recommends we vote for candidates & causes whch various other members dont . Im in california & am a right of center voter from latin descent .

N maki - July 23, 2014

Union members should control how their dues are spent. Union officials should be obligated to get permission for expenditures approved by members on everything. that way union pensions would be safeguarded and the future of the unions themselves could be in better standing.

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