The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, while not mentioning Freedom of Association directly, has been interpreted by the U.S. Supreme Court to include protection of Freedom of Association. So, direct efforts to make labor unions illegal have been unsuccessful. That does not keep the anti-union folks from trying. One way to do that is to prevent organizations from being able to fund themselves.
Louisiana is a Right to Work state. Like many anti-union laws, the names can be misleading. Right to Work laws do not actually create a right to work for anyone. There is no guarantee of employment. What Right to Work laws really do is regulate employees’ ability to unionize. In a Right to Work state, unions cannot require employees to belong to a union or force non-union members to pay fees to the union to support labor negotiations. These laws are intended to weaken labor unions.
Louisiana law currently allows public employees to pay dues to organizations utilizing payroll deduction, a function which does not cost anything to be maintained. La. R.S. 42:457 allows public employees who are members of a labor union to pay their dues through payroll deduction. La. R.S. 42:457.1 allows police officers and firefighters who belong to professional organizations, like the Fraternal Order of Police, to pay their dues through payroll deduction.
In the 2015 Louisiana Legislative Session, HB 418 and SB 204, supported by groups like the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry, seek to hurt labor unions by repealing authorization to pay dues through payroll deduction. Along with labor unions, professional organizations such as the FOP, employee advocates, would also suffer the inability to collect dues by payroll deduction.
They are calling this one “paycheck protection” as if to suggest that organizations such as the FOP are raiding our members’ paychecks or that our members are in need of the Legislature’s protection to keep them from spending money on the FOP. Don’t be fooled by “paycheck protection.” See more below, including links to tell your elected representatives that you do not approve of HB 418 or SB 204.