Monday, July 28, 2008

That card's expensive, too 

One part of joining a union is agreeing to allow your union dues to be used by the union's leadership to engage in political activity. One of the groups pushing card-check, the SEIU, is strong-arming its rank-and-file for money to fund political activity this year. The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation has asked the Justice and Labor Departments to investigate the practice.

Article XV, Section 18 of the union�s constitution now authorizes the SEIU�s national brass to fine local unions for failure to meet its annual SEIU COPE fundraising obligations. SEIU COPE is the union�s federal PAC, and the FEC lists it as the top labor union PAC with over $23 million in receipts for 2005-2006.

However, federal labor law forbids unions from political fundraising through the imposition of mandatory financial penalties and it prohibits the conversion of union dues to �hard money.� In addition to asking for a Department of Labor investigation, the coercive nature of the amendment�s punitive mechanism violates core provisions of the Federal Election Campaign Act, and warrants a Department of Justice criminal prosecution.

The new amendment also appears to allow local affiliates to use nonmember employees� mandatory dues payments to cover PAC contributions and the SEIU�s fines. While imposition of financial penalties for failure to make political contributions is illegal regardless of how those fines are spent, the use of funds derived from nonmembers� fees for political purposes also violates those employees� constitutional rights.

Ed Morrissey notes
Now the SEIU suddenly has $150 million, from which they�ve already committeed at least $85 million specific to Democratic candidates. ... The union knows how to protect itself and its interests, and the lockstep nature of their support for Democrats should awaken voters to the threat their policies comprise. This is nothing more than a closed-feedback loop for Democrats, and Card Check is the prize that will ensure its rapid growth.
It's not even necessary, though, if the Justice Department does not forbid the compulsion of agency fees for payment of penalties for failing to hit the quota for its contributions to the unions' PACs.

But signing that card, my fellow worker, is now more expensive than ever. You will have no recourse to them taking that extra $6 per year. Did you sign such a card and now regret it? Instructions here on what rights you still have, at least until the next attempt to pass card-check.

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