With his approval ratings sagging and Pennsylvania ranking 46th in job growth, Gov. Tom Corbett needs to distract voters as he faces re-election. That seems to be at least part of his motivation for supporting bills in the Legislature that would prevent public workers from voluntarily having their union dues deducted from their paychecks. What a crock!
Payroll deduction of union dues is accomplished with almost zero cost. Yet the bills’ supporters make ridiculous claims that they are motivated by fiscal responsibility. Contrary to misinformation spread by some of the bills’ supporters, dues collected from public workers cannot be used to contribute to political campaigns or directly support candidates for public office.
So why are Mr. Corbett and some legislators spending so much time and effort trying to keep public employees from having their dues automatically deducted?
Maybe they want to please wealthy and powerful donors to their campaigns — right-wing, out-of-state donors like the Koch brothers and groups like the Commonwealth Foundation.
Of course, the bills won’t touch deductions that are made to big banks and insurance companies even though they use the money to spend heavily on lobbying and politics. Gov. Corbett wouldn’t want to alienate the wealthiest 1 percent, the beneficiaries of all income growth in Pennsylvania since 2008. Most members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers are in the private sector. But we refuse to be silent as Gov. Corbett and his allies attempt to undermine dedicated public employees and their rights to collectively bargain by weakening their unions.
Rather than pushing divisive measures that hurt the state’s wage earners like right-to-work laws, cuts in education funding and the privatization of the state’s liquor stores, Gov. Corbett and his allies in the Legislature should reach out and bring citizens together. Isn’t that what we elect leaders to do?
DONALD C. SIEGEL
International Vice President
IBEW, Third District