Sunday, March 10, 2013

Brace yourself, Missouri. Another assault on your free speech rights is coming this week

This coming week, extremist anti-worker politicians in Missouri's Legislature will try to silence working families by passing a bill restricting what they can do with their paychecks.

The so-called 'paycheck deception' bill will make it illegal for an employer to honor an employee's voluntary request to withhold union dues from his or her paycheck.

The proposal, SB 29 in the Senate and HB 64 in the House, has one purpose: to tilt the political balance of power toward corporations. The Benedict Arnold Koch brothers are behind it, as are the execrable Humphreys family and Ponzi scheme Amway heir Dick DeVos. So is ALEC, the escort service for state lawmakers and corporations. Lobbying groups masquerading as think tanks and tea party groups are pushing it too. 

They desperately want to limit working families' participation in politics by singling out unions for unfair and burdensome restrictions. 

In the up-is-down world of these greedy billionaires and their political puppets, paycheck deception is "campaign finance reform." But paycheck deception actually worsens the problem with the current campaign finance system. It further tips the balance toward corporations and the wealthy.

Corporations already outspend unions more than 23-to-1. And in the first six months of 2012, corporations and wealthy special interests spent more than $1 billion on lobbying.

What's especially unfair about 'paycheck deception' is that unions are already subject to more stringent reporting requirements than any other organizations. But anti-worker groups like ALEC are funded by dark-money nonprofits and treated as charities!

It sounds as if SB29 will come up again on Monday. Missourians, please call 888-907-9711 and ask to speak with your senator. Urge him or her to oppose SB29. You stalled it last week, and you can stall it again until it dies. If you know your senator opposes paycheck deception, please call anyway and thank him or her for standing strong.

The House paycheck deception bill could also come up early next week. Representatives can be reached by calling 888-907-9711 number as well. Ask them to vote no on HB 64.

It's important to remember that union members have a choice. No worker can be forced to fund a union’s political and legislative activities. Union members choose whether to join the union, set their own dues, elect their own leaders and vote on where and how their money will be spent. The small minority of workers who disagree with union political activities can choose not to belong to the union. In states where they still pay a fee to cover the union’s representation, they are not required to pay the amount that goes for political and legislative activities.

What's more, courts routinely rule that these paycheck deception laws violate workers’ constitutional rights. In 2011, Alabama and Arizona enacted so-called “paycheck protection” measures, and the courts issued injunctions against their enforcement. Real paycheck protection comes from First Amendment rights of speech and association, as well as 14th Amendment equal protection guarantees.

Missourians, don't forget to call!