Worker Pay Protection: Implications for Labor’s Political Spending and Voice

Source: Marick F. Masters, Raymond Gibney, And Thomas J. Zagenczyk, Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, Volume 48 Issue 4, Published Online: 24 Aug 2009
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Labor’s participation in politics requires money. Within legal restrictions, unions use compulsory dues to pay for much of their involvement. Such usage has continually raised controversy, leading to a host of U.S. Supreme Court decisions to give nonmember dues-payers the right to object to union political spending. We examine the current legal framework and are the first to report comprehensive data on union political spending financed from dues. We estimate the potential impact of a national “worker paycheck protection” law on labor’s political spending. With the potential to reduce money available to finance union involvement in politics, such a law may lessen the ability of labor to have its voice heard by lawmakers, especially in the face of shrinking density in the workforce. The importance of this is demonstrated by the large role unions played in the 2008 congressional and presidential elections. Despite Democratic victories in that historic year, “paycheck protection” is likely to loom large, fueled by efforts to enact the Employee Free Choice Act.

Leave a Reply