Paycheck Protection is a Women’s Issue

Member Group : Lincoln Institute

In case you were unaware, there is a war on women unfolding in Pennsylvania at this moment. The government sector union bosses, particularly the teachers’ unions bosses, are trying to bully legislators to prevent what is known as Paycheck Protection from being passed in the General Assembly.

Paycheck Protection would stop the government from seizing money from the paychecks of state workers and handing the money over to the unions all in the name of "dues". This is unfair and oppressive to every state employee who has dues unfairly seized from their paychecks. However, it disproportionately impacts women.

The state’s largest teachers’ union, the Pennsylvania State Education Association (or PSEA for short) is at the forefront in fighting against Paycheck Protection. On their website, the PSEA claims to represent 182,000 teachers plus the support professionals, staff in state higher education institution, nurses in healthcare facilities, retired educators and college students preparing to become teachers. A majority of those members are women. Yet the head of the PSEA and, frankly of the other government unions fighting against paycheck protection including NFT, ASFME and the AFL-CIO; are all men.
The male union bosses openly opposing Paycheck Protection when it would primarily benefit their female members is inherently sexist. Women have fought long and hard to have their voices heard and in Pennsylvania, their voice is suppressed because they cannot take their membership money and leave.

Plus, what if a teacher, a nurse or a student teacher doesn’t want to be in the union at all? What if she is a single mother and needs the money to feed her family or put her children through school? In many cases the male union bosses demand those women pay up to 80% of the dues anyway. Many teachers, nurses and other PSEA members are forced to pay for the privilege of not being in the union.

And what is worse, some of this money funnels back to politicians. What if a woman doesn’t want her dues or money supporting a politician? What if she doesn’t want to belong to a union that supports a certain political party or group? Under Pennsylvania law that women has no power. No voice.

As a woman, I know how hard my mother and my grandmother had to fight to have their voices heard in the political arena. When the government forcibly seizes money from a woman’s paycheck to go to one of the male dominated public unions and those unions engage in political activity that woman disagrees with; it reeks of paternalistic domination and sexist attitudes that were supposed to be gone long ago.

As a mom, I find this whole thing incredibly offensive and scary on many levels.
I adore the women who teachers my children. These wonderful women are in the trenches with my children, providing a gateway to achievement. When you attack school teachers and their right to choose, you are going after my children and limit their opportunities as well.

I believe a woman has a right to choose…especially whether or not she wants her hard earned money going to a union. The law is written so that the male union bosses have become the pimps of the teachers, nurses, aides and students teachers forced to give them part of their earnings. This must end.

Pennsylvania State Representative Kathy Rapp became the most recent victim of the male union boss bullies, when she met with firefighters in her district to talk about the proposed paycheck protection bill. Instead of civilized discourse, some other government sector unions came to the meeting to harass the female Representative.

Representative Rapp’s pro-freedom track record is well known and well established. Anyone hoping to change her position on paycheck protection needs to stand by a mirror while looking up the word "futile" in the dictionary. However, why is it the male union bosses choose to target a female state representative? Surely there were other male legislators having similar meetings.

Paycheck Protection is a woman’s issue and any politician opposing it is perpetrating an inherently sexist system. Is this really what we want for our daughters? To have their options limited and their political voice curtailed because male union bosses want to stay in power? Or do we want to live in a Commonwealth that protects every woman and man to make the best choices for themselves? As for me, I’m pro-woman, and when it comes to Paycheck protection, I am most certainly pro-choice too.

Jennifer Stefano is the State Director of Americans for Prosperity and Americans for Prosperity Foundation in Pennsylvania. You can follow her on twitter at @stefanospeaks.