On September 14, 2016 TCCRI submitted written testimony before the Senate State Affairs Committee regarding the use of public funds and employees for the payment processing of union dues.
Texas is a right-to-work state and forced membership in a union is prohibited. Consistent with the emphasis Texans place on individual liberty, the decision whether or not to join a union is a personal choice. Employees are not required by law to join a union, though Texas law encourages them to voluntarily unionize. This is consistent with federal law, which requires that employees be allowed to collectively organize. There is, however, no federal requirement that the government collect dues on a union’s behalf. Nevertheless, many government employers, such as police departments and school districts, deduct union dues from employee payrolls. Indeed, Section 403.165 of the Government Code and Section 141.008 of the Local Government Code authorize this practice for many state and municipal government employers.
Government should never be a mechanism or conduit through which union dues are extracted from employees’ paychecks whether or not union membership is voluntary or compulsory. The Committee’s charge asks for “recommendations on whether Texas should end this practice.” This practice should end.