No sound rationale for ban on union dues deduction

In a brief 15-minute meeting today, the Senate Reforms, Restructuring and Reinventing Committee heard testimony on HB 4929 by its sponsor, Rep. Joe Haveman (R-Holland). The bill would prohibit the payroll deduction of union dues from an employee's paycheck. SB 636, a similar bill sponsored by Sen. Arlan Meekhof (R-West Olive) is also being considered by the Committee.

Haveman testified that even though the bill would not save money, "it's a good, solid, common-sense reform." He claimed that he wasn't picking on rank and file union members with his bill, but instead was focusing on educating students.

According to Haveman, school districts, employees and their unions would benefit by his legislation. School districts could focus on educating students and not have their resources "wasted" on administrative issues.  In a bizarre twist, Haveman claimed unions would benefit from this legislation because they would now be more accountable to their members -- despite the littany of current rules requiring transparency and accountability for unions, including that members already can choose whether or not they join.

The absurd rationale for this legislation continued when Sen. Patrick Colbeck (R-Canton) asked Haveman about how the current process for dues deduction worked. Haveman admitted he wasn’t sure. When Haveman was asked whether the House Fiscal Agency had provided any cost-savings data, he replied, “I was told the savings was negligible and didn’t pursue it any further. Money is not the issue here. Education is.”

This legislation doesn’t put any money back into school budgets that have been decimated by lawmakers more interested in helping out corporate interests instead of students. This legislation doesn’t help prepare students for college or future employment.  This legislation doesn’t create any new jobs. It’s obvious that this is just another attack on employees and their unions.

Contact your legislators now and tell them this bill is not about education—it’s about destroying unions.