by Priya Abraham, Cara Dochat
Commonwealth Foundation for Public Policy Alternatives
March 14, 2013
Pennsylvania’s government unions wield tremendous political influence and advance policies that harm the commonwealth’s taxpayers, children, and even their own members. Pennsylvania is a forced-union state, meaning even workers who are not official union members must pay fees to the union as a condition of their employment. A single union usually has monopoly bargaining power with a government unit, such as a school district, preventing employees from choosing a different union or from bargaining individually. And most government units are “agency shop,” requiring non-union workers to pay a fair share fee to a union in order to keep their job. Pennsylvania law also grants government unions the unique and special privilege to use government payroll and administrative systems to deduct dues and fair share fees automatically from workers’ paychecks—money workers earn, but never see. Automatic deductions—at taxpayers’ expense—help bankroll six-figure salaries for union bosses, political lobbying, and expensive conferences and junkets while employees have little or no say in how unions use their money.