One of the tactics pushed by extremist legislators and their corporate backers in Missouri is paycheck deception legislation, which limits how union workers can make their voices heard in the political process.
Proponents of paycheck deception are counting on the public to be uninformed (or misinformed) about what these bills actually do. So here are 10 things you should know about paycheck deception:
1. Unfair regulations – These laws require labor organizations to go through burdensome bureaucratic hoops in order to deduct dues from members’ paychecks and to use that money for political advocacy. No other corporation, CEO, or other organization has similar restrictions. The sole intent is to force the union to spend more resources collecting dues so that they have less ability to advocate for workers at workplaces and in politics.
2. Limit free speech. These laws apply rules to union members that don’t apply to any other organization. A business that belongs to a Chamber of Commerce, for instance, can’t opt-out of paying annual dues and still belong to the Chamber.
3. Attack unions – Paycheck deception laws have, and have always had, one purpose: attack unions. They have never been about protecting workers or giving workers a “choice.”
4. Don’t protect workers. Proponents call them “paycheck protection” laws, when in fact they just protect the CEOs and special interests that don’t want any opposition from organized labor. The “protection” they are implying already exists, as union members already collectively decide how their money is spent.
5. Not “campaign finance reform.” Supporters of these laws often try to sell them as campaign finance reform. If anything, by forcing unions to follow one set of rules while ignoring corporations, these laws tilt the political playing field further toward corporate interests.
6. Union members already have a choice. No worker in the United States can be forced to join a union. Period. Furthermore, unions already have a process by which members can opt-out of having their dues used for political activity. As democratic organizations, union members already collectively decide how their dues money is spent – and like our elections, majority rules.
7. Union members are not calling for them. While arguing for paycheck deception in Missouri, legislators claimed they had talked to union workers who felt coerced by the current deduction process, but failed to produce them. No union workers testified in favor of the Missouri bill.
8. Hurt donations to nonprofits. By firing a broadside attack at unions, paycheck deception laws restrict all kinds of paycheck deductions: direct deposit, 401(k), and charitable deductions. Many union members voluntarily donate to organizations like the United Way through paycheck deductions – these laws would make that process more difficult.
9. Often found unconstitutional. In Alabama, Arizona, and Washington, paycheck deception laws were ruled unconstitutional by state Supreme Courts.
10. Stepping stone to RTW. Former Missouri Speaker Tim Jones admitted that while “there are other ways to skin a cat” to limit union workers’ political power, paycheck deception “a way to get to the ultimate goal of right to work.”