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KOSE Executive Director Responds to Paycheck Deception

By Stuart Elliott
Advocacy | February 24, 2011

TOPEKA, Kan. - The Kansas Organization of State Employees (KOSE) is a union for executive branch state employees, and the largest union of state employees in Kansas. KOSE Executive Director Jane Carter recently issued the following prepared statement:

"The recent vote in the House should have never happened; HB 2130, the 'Paycheck Deception Bill' is nothing more than discrimination against union members and their political institutions. This bill restricts the use of funds collected, in part, through the state government's payroll system as a result of paycheck deductions affirmatively authorized by a state employee for a non-partisan political action committee. This bill does nothing for average union members but tell them how and what they can use their paychecks for...

"For public employee organizations - that is, for KOSE- HB 2130 includes a variation on the anti-union ruse misleadingly called "paycheck protection" by its proponents. Proponents of this ruse speak with high-minded fervor of the need to protect the rights of individual union members and other workers to be free of the compulsion to pay for speech with which they disagree. But, paycheck protection is disfavored by union members. Only business groups like the Chamber of Commerce are in support and for them it is retaliation against working families and their unions for opposing corporate and anti-worker agendas.

"This morning, Rep. Loganbill (D-Wichita) asked a rhetorical question of the proponents of this bill as to whether they thought union members were too stupid to know how to spend their own paychecks. A good question considering that these so-called "small government" legislators have no problem with government meddling in the rights of workers and telling union members how to spend their hard earned paychecks.

"Rep. Mike Slattery (D-Mission) took to the floor and made a bold case against HB 2130 calling the bill a "union tax" because it forces workers to send in paper checks through the mail if they choose to support their union's non-partisan political action committee, instead of simply having an agreed upon amount deducted from their paychecks at no cost to the worker or employer which is what we have in place now.

"Union members overwhelmingly support labor's political advocacy. They recognize that labor's political and legislative advocacy is strongly correlated with the economic interests of working families, and that the removal of labor unions from the political playing field would leave the field to be dominated by the same corporate groups that have forced a race to the bottom for workers - outsourcing jobs, slashing wages and eliminating benefits and retirement security. This is precisely why backers of HB 2130 and similar measures have singled out unions and do not even purport to apply such restrictions to corporations and other membership organizations, and it is precisely why we oppose it."


You are right, Stuart. The unions representing wage earners are being singled out and unfairly ostracized.

Stuart, I've been an independent farmer for 50 years. But, I belonged to the Teamsters Union and Machinist Union before that. I am and have been a member in Farm Organizations, Commodity Marketing Associations and Purchasing Associations. All of those organizations have individual dues and they all have lobbying representatives. In the case of some of the marketing associations, fees are automatically deducted by the purchaser and remitted to the organization. I cannot request exemption. The only recourse is to submit proper request for refund to the organizations, some of which I am not even a member. School Boards and Community College Boards have state and national organizations; they all have dues/membership fees and they all have lobbying representation. Home owners have associations, Businesses have their Chamber of Commerce, small towns have associations, cities have associations; you name a group and they have associations and political lobbyists.

Corporations have economic clout that is part of their operating expenses, taken out before dividends are paid. Do they give the stockholders dividends to them and then ask for donations back to fund their political activity? I've not heard of that happening. When the Supreme Court declared that corporations had the same privilege of unlimited contribution accountability as individuals had, who do you suppose gained an even bigger advantage in the political arena?

Employers, both large and small, have been waging a battle to lessen labor's power to bargain every since the first group of laborers successfully banded together to demand decent wages and safer working conditions.

We passed anti trust laws at the turn of the last century to protect against monopoly control. Those laws and regulations have been relaxed or even overturned. Labor unions in their effort to match the power of corporations have been subjected to curtailment legislation. Workers in critical service jobs are rightfully restricted from strikes that would have immediate negative impact on all of society. During World War 2, the National Government stepped in and ordered mandatory settlement to protect the nation's security.

In Wisconsin, the government is demanding public service workers and teachers to give up benefits to fund tax relief for the wealthy. They have even gone a little further in an attempt to cripple the unions solidarity to negotiate in the future.

What we are seeing now is that while corporations are being given more power the unions, small businesses, and everyday citizens are being deprived of freedoms and the ability to compete in a world wide economic and business climate.

Both of our major political parties are behind this movement, but if you'll notice, the Republicans are much more aggressive and bold in that movement.

There is a rally being held on the south steps of the capital building tomorrow (Feb. 26) at noon, to protest this along with all of the extreme legislative action that has come out of Topeka this year. Stand together and fight for the people of our state!

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