For Immediate Release
Contact: Cindy Hamill
Lawmakers Move to Empower Teachers, Public Employees with Paycheck Protection
PA Teachers Urge Bill’s Passage in New Ad Campaign
June 23, 2014, Harrisburg, Pa—Today, the House State Government Committee advanced House Bill 1507 to the floor, taking the first step towards ending the taxpayer collection of government union campaign contributions and political money. The legislation, called Paycheck Protection, would close a loophole that allows government unions, and only government unions, the ability to use taxpayer-funded payroll services to collect money used for political action committees and other purely political purposes.
"I applaud the House State Government Committee’s determination to restore fairness and accountability to a process that harms both taxpayers and public employees like teachers," said Matthew J. Brouillette, president and CEO of the Commonwealth Foundation. "Teachers like Keith Williams, who testified before the committee, now have hope that their voices will no longer be co-opted by union executives who abuse taxpayer resources and teachers’ paychecks to advance their own political agendas."
Other public school teachers are joining Williams in boldly speaking out to end government unions’ special privilege to collect political money using taxpayer resources.
The Commonwealth Foundation is helping spread their message of empowerment and political fairness via television and newspaper ads running across the state.
• In a television ad campaign, Susan Hancock, a 40-year teaching veteran and union member, argues that, "[teachers’ unions] use our money for political causes that we don’t agree with." She wants Paycheck Protection to get her voice back and hold her union leaders more accountable. See the full video at www.cfpolicy.org/voices
• Full-page newspapers ads—which ran in 14 newspapers around the state on Sunday—feature Robin Fought, an 18-year public school teacher, who asks, "Do you think it’s right to force people to fund a politician they disagree with?"
Susan, Robin, and two other public school teachers—representing a combined 100 years of teaching experience—want to take their voices back from government union leaders who use taxpayer resources to automatically deduct union dues and campaign contributions from teachers’ paychecks.
Brouillette, a former high school and middle school teacher, commented:
"Paycheck Protection would restore fundamental fairness to the political system and empower teachers with a bigger say in how their money is spent on political activity. When union leaders have to get their dues and campaign contributions directly from teachers—rather than having it automatically deducted from their paychecks—we will empower teachers to hold their unions more accountable."
This ad campaign is the latest in series of efforts by Commonwealth Foundation to raise public awareness of the issue, which includes a previous television commercial in the southeast.
For additional background on Paycheck Protection, read retired Westmoreland County teacher Bill Frye’s op-ed in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette—"Why I Left Teaching: Union Politics"—and explore Commonwealth Foundation’s Paycheck Protection toolkit at www.cfpolicy.org/paycheckprotection.
Matthew Brouillette and other Commonwealth Foundation experts are available for comment.
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For more information, please contact Cindy Hamill, director of strategic communications for the Commonwealth Foundation at (856) 607-4208 or [email protected].
The Commonwealth Foundation, founded in 1988, crafts free-market policies, convinces Pennsylvanians of their benefits, and counters attacks on liberty.