The so-called line between government union dues and Big Labor politics comes into focus in an analysis of 10 years of union data in Pennsylvania.

Not entirely surprising, the Keystone State’s top government unions spent more than $114.8 million on politics between 2007 and 2017, according to the Commonwealth Foundation’s research. With that kind of union clout, it’s no wonder Pennsylvania is among a handful of states that doesn’t ban teacher strikes. Or why commonsense legislation like paycheck protection goes down to defeat.

What’s also illuminating from Commonwealth’s data is that $67 million comes from membership dues. And in Pennsylvania, annual union dues from public-sector workers are a condition of employment. If workers opt not to join a union, they still must pay the so-called “fair-share fees” supposedly for collective bargaining.

Nailing down the full extent of government unions’ political spending is made challenging by unions that mislabel spending, “fail to document their political spending, and/or delay reporting information,” writes Jessica Barnett for Commonwealth. Reportedly some public-worker unions still haven’t submitted reports for 2017.

Of course, government unions are free to express their political platforms and allegiance to the candidates they choose. But as the aforementioned figures show, they also have sufficient “resources” to collect their own political coin without relying on taxpayer-funded government payroll systems. That makes clear the case for paycheck protection.

— Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

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