Friday, April 26, 2013

ALEC's latest attack in Mo. deceives and silences workers

Look carefully at the "paycheck protection" bills passed this week by the Missouri Legislature. You'll see ALEC's fingerprints slathered all over them. These bills are part of the Koch group’s continuing effort to muscle the working class out of politics and government.

The passage of SB 29 and HB 64 threatens to destroy workers' ability to 
donate to candidates and causes as a group. Employers would be unaffected.  If the bills are enacted, unions couldn't make political donations. But guess who could: the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and its powerful friends such as the Chamber of Commerce and the National Federation of Independent Businesses.

The legislation is 
part of ALEC's continuing effort to shift policymaking away from the people and put it in the hands of employers, according to an Economic Policy Institute report released this week,  Gordon Lafer, a University of Oregon professor who authored the report, said this about the legislation:
The argument advanced in Missouri and elsewhere is that it will save workers money … and expand workers’ rights. Neither of these bills extend new rights to employees that Missouri law already doesn’t allow.
Professor Lafer said the arguments for this legislation are baseless. For example, the bills state that union workers shouldn’t have to pay dues to support political candidates they oppose. However, union workers already can opt out of paying a portion of their dues allocated for political spending. Meanwhile, corporations can use monies they receive to lobby for whatever cause or candidate they support.

The measures also would require workers to fill out paperwork each year affirming their approval to have part of their dues used for political purposes. Unions, in turn, would have to devote sparse resources toward making sure their members comply with the burdensome law.

Professor Lafer said the legislation would create two different sets of laws, one for workers and another for employers. He said:
It is important to note that ALEC and the Chamber and other organizations have opposed similar obligations being placed on corporations.
Our brothers and sisters in Missouri should contact the office of Gov. Jay Nixon and tell him to veto this deceptive legislation.