Unions of government employees, particularly the teachers unions, have for many years been able to get state governments to deduct money out of the payroll checks of state employees and transfer it directly into the unions' political funds, where the money is used to support their favorite candidates, which, surprise surprise, are usually 90% Democratic Party candidates. This is despite the fact that a high percentage of members of the teachers union favor Republicans and resent having part of their union dues sent to support liberal candidates. In Alabama, for example, the teachers union spent more than $8 and a half million dollars in the 2010 elections, mostly to support Democrats.
People who don't think that state governments should be giving this assistance to political candidates have tried again and again, in many states, to pass state laws to prevent this. These laws are called Paycheck Protection laws. The bills are usually defeated because of the political power of the unions, particularly the teachers unions.
Well, we had a big election last November. Nearly 700 new state legislators were elected, and things may be different now. The first happy result is that the newly elected Alabama legislature overcame a 15-hour filibuster and passed a bill that ends Alabama state paycheck deductions for campaign contributions and union funds that are used for political activities. Payroll deduction is still permitted for the portion of union dues that does not finance political activities.
This new Alabama law will probably have a big impact on the political power of the Alabama teachers union. The executive secretary of the Alabama teacher union has been known to be one of the most powerful men in the state. This new Paycheck Protection Law will end decades of the Alabama teachers union getting almost anything it wants from the Legislature.
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