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Hearing Hearing Date: February 8, 2012 12:00 am

The Right to Choose: Protecting Union Workers from Forced Political Contributions

The Right to Choose: Protecting Union Workers from Forced Political Contributions
February 8, 2012
12:00 am

Every worker should have the choice to decide whether their money is taken from their paychecks and used to fund political activity.   When this occurs, a worker should also have the right to know how their money is spent.

Individual freedom and personal choice are cornerstones of our democratic government—they are also at the heart of union participation in America.

Today’s hearing will examine the process by which union dues are collected and how transparent unions are about this process.  The Committee’s focus is not an examination of the validity of unions or their right to exist, but rather an effort to ensure that the political activity of unions does not infringe the freedoms of workers.

Because of recent court decisions and a systematic effort by the Obama Administration to reduce union transparency and reporting requirements, union workers do not currently know how much of the money from their paycheck dues is being funneled to SuperPACs or used for other political activity.  The Administration has also drastically reduced the Department of Labor’s ability to effectively audit labor organizations.

These actions will have far-reaching consequences. I welcome the union workers who have agreed to testify today and appreciate their willingness to speak their mind about what they see as unjust restrictions on their freedom of choice in our democracy.

Witnesses and testimonies: Mr. Terry Bowman

Ypsilanti, Michigan


Ms. Claire Waites

Daphne, Alabama


Ms. Sally Coomer

Duvall, Washington


Kenneth G. Dau-Schmidt , JD, Ph.D.

Willard and Margaret Carr, Professor of Labor and Employment Law Indiana University Maurer School of Law


Related Documents
Name Document
Staff Report: "Workplace Freedom and Fairness: Are Workers Forced to Fund Political Causes They Oppose?" Document