Paycheck protection refers to laws that prohibit public employee labor organizations from using public employee dues for political contribution; paycheck protection ensures that union bosses do not spend employees’ dues without their consent on political activity they do not support. Paycheck protection requires a written consent from the employee to the employer for the use of his or her union dues on political contributions.
AWF supports paycheck protection laws because they guarantee the basic rights of association. Paycheck protection laws also increase fiscal transparency and accountability on the part of the unions, both of which are imperative to worker freedom.
Currently, only Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, Ohio, Michigan and Washington state have paycheck protection laws.
A detailed examination by James Sherk of the Heritage Foundation of union spending in states in which political donations are voluntary reveals that union leaders choose to spend far more on politics than their members would prefer. In particular:
- Paycheck protection legislation has a clear negative effect on public sector union contributions to candidates for state legislative offices. These laws reduce union campaign donations by approximately 50 percent. The odds of random chance explaining these results are less than one percent.
- Paycheck protection laws do not affect donations from other economic sectors, nor do they have an effect on contributions from other industries. Paycheck protection laws appear to have a causal effect in reducing union campaign contributions.
- There is not enough evidence to determine if paycheck protection laws reduce the political influence of unions. Anecdotal reports, however, suggest that union leaders have found loopholes in paycheck protection laws that allow them to continue spending their members’ dues on political activism without their consent. The fact that unions must use these loopholes nonetheless demonstrates that union members do not support their union’s political agenda.
For more on paycheck protection and to read a detailed analysis, click here.