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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: April 2, 2019 09:47 AM
From: Representative Keith J. Greiner
To: All House members
Subject: Introduction of Legislation to Prohibit Public Employers from Deducting Political Contributions from Employee's Wages

Please find attached a copy of legislation I plan to introduce to eliminate the ability of public-sector unions to negotiate provisions in collective bargaining agreements that require public bodies (the Commonwealth, school districts, municipalities, etc.) to collect any form of political contributions from employee's paychecks. My legislation amends the Public Employee Relations Act (Act 195 of 1970) to prohibit the ability of public employers and representative unions to negotiate clauses in collective bargaining agreements which allow the public employer to deduct political contributions from paychecks. It is important to note that in recognition of the important public safety role that guards at mental hospitals, prisons and court employees perform, my legislation leaves intact the ability of their unions to negotiate such clauses in collective bargaining agreements. In addition, it is especially important to note that my legislation does not affect the ability of unions representing firemen or policemen (those public employees covered under Act 111of 1968) to negotiate such wage deductions by a public employer.

This legislation is based on a solid foundation because its provisions are similar to a law that was enacted in Idaho in 2003 and upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. The Idaho law prohibits public unions from collecting political contributions through automatic payroll deductions. In its 2009 decision in Ysura v. Pocatello Education Association, the Supreme Court upheld this law and ruled that the First Amendment right to freedom of speech does not confer an affirmative right to use government payroll as a mechanism for obtaining funds for expression.

I do not believe that the public employers should be participating, in any manner, with political discourse in our state; especially enabling the collection of monies for advocating political causes. There is nothing in this legislation that inhibits public employees from contributing to political causes in other ways, such as just sending a check.

It is important to note that this legislation in no way inhibits the ability of public sector unions, under current law, to negotiate membership dues deductions (for members of the representative union). Additionally, this legislation has no effect on private sector unions, such as the Building Trades.

Please contact my secretary, Tierna, at ttuckey@pahousegop.com or 3-6422 if you have any questions.

Introduced as HB2230