GOP targets automatic deductions of union dues

Proposed legislation would eliminate federal employees' ability to pay union dues directly from their paychecks, a measure Republican lawmakers say would empower union members.

The 2011 Empower Employees Act, sponsored by Rep. Tim Scott, R-S.C., would prohibit union dues from being automatically deducted from federal workers' salaries. Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., on Monday introduced companion legislation.

"This bill does not prohibit federal workers from joining a union or paying union dues," Scott said. "In fact, this legislation would increase employees' freedom by allowing them to choose to pay union dues rather than having them taken out of employees' paychecks before the workers even see the money."

Federal workers are not required to participate in automatic deductions and already have the option to submit union dues by cash or check. Employees fill out Form 1187 to elect payroll deductions and can end them at any time. According to Matt Biggs, legislative and political director of the International Federation of Technical and Professional Engineers, most dues-paying members use automatic deductions, and unions are required to represent even those who opt out.

Labor leaders criticized the measure as an attack on union representation and collective bargaining rights for federal employees.

"This would strangle federal unions' ability to collect resources, thereby all but eliminating our ability to exist," said Biggs.

William Dougan, national president of the National Federation of Federal Employees, called the legislation "union busting in its purest form."

"It is laughable that [Scott] would suggest that this bill increases federal employees' rights in the workplace," Dougan said. "By law, all federal union membership is completely voluntary. No employee can pay union dues without proactively approaching the union and submitting a form to their agency expressing their will to do so . . . When narrow-minded, ideologically driven partisan politics trump workers' rights, everybody loses."

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.