Public Employee Unions Don't Get One Penny from Taxpayers and Can't Require Membership, But the Big Lie That They Do Is Everywhere
Nobody has to belong to a union or support its political activities, but you'd never know that from reading the news.
AlterNet / by Joshua Holland
March 5, 2011 | Let us begin with this simple, indisputable truth: public employees' unions don't get a single red cent from taxpayers. And they aren't a mechanism to “force” working people to support Democrats – that's completely illegal.
|Photo Credit: vaxomatic|
The irony here is that while unions can't compel workers to fork over a penny for political campaigns, corporations can donate unlimited amounts of their shareholders' equity to do so – they are, in fact, in the “unique position” to elect pliant lawmakers. “What the right-wing and the business community always try to portray is that you have these union bosses that are forcing helpless employees to give them money,” says Gold, “when the reality is that these are their members who chose to be in a union and then elected their officers democratically, in sharp contrast to corporations, none of whose officers are elected democratically unless you count shareholders voting at an annual meeting as a real democratic system.”
Unlike private-sector jobs, which are more than fully funded through revenues created in a voluntary exchange of money for goods or services, public-sector jobs are funded by taxpayer dollars, forcibly collected by the government (union dues are often deducted from public employees’ paychecks).
Big money from public unions, collected through mandatory dues, and funded entirely by the taxpayer, is then redistributed as campaign cash to help elect the politicians who are then supposed to represent taxpayers in negotiations with those same unions.
Joshua Holland is an editor and senior writer at AlterNet. He is the author of The 15 Biggest Lies About the Economy (and Everything else the Right Doesn't Want You to Know About Taxes, Jobs and Corporate America). Drop him an email or follow him on Twitter.