NEA President Admits Dues Deduction Loss Diminishes Membership Numbers

NEA President Dennis Van Roekel, commenting on a new bill in Kansas which eliminates mandatory dues deductions for all Kansas employees, admits that mandatory payroll dues deduction compels union membership.  Without detailing why this is so, he claims states with no mandatory dues deduction lose about a third of their members.  Perhaps other states should follow suit.

Ben DeGrow, heartland, org, has the story.

Republican Gov. Sam Brownback signed House Bill 2022 into law on April 1, enacting a policy often referred to as “paycheck protection” for all Kansas employees.

Testifying before a state Senate committee, Kansas Association of American Educators executive director Garry Sigle noted his encounters with “teachers that are unaware that their union dues are going to political activity.” One recently contacted him, prompted by the public debate over HB 2022 to discover the union’s political spending habits.

“We think it’s important teachers are aware of where their dollars are going,” Sigle said.

Responding to a January survey KPI sponsored, 39 percent of Kansas adults said governments should collect general union dues but no political funds. Thirty percent opposed collecting any union dues, and 12 percent favored collecting all dues, with 19 percent unsure.

“Employees are still free to set up direct draft from their bank accounts,” Trabert said. “What we’ll have to see is how many employees change their minds.”

Narrowed Approach Still, the policy is narrowly targeted at how unions collect political funds. A broader prohibition on the use of government payroll systems not only likely would drain union campaign coffers but also their general dues revenue.

“In the states that lost payroll deduction, if I had to make a general rule I’d say they lose about 30 percent of their membership,” National Education Association president Dennis Van Roekel recently told a group of fellow union leaders.

As originally introduced, HB 2022 would have also barred government employee unions from lobbying lawmakers and testifying before legislative committees. Senate Commerce Committee Chairwoman Julia Lynn (R-Olathe) deleted that provision to get the votes to pass the bill.

“Teachers should be able to fund whatever political candidate they support,” said Sigle.