Union dues bill pulled before vote
BATON ROUGE - A bill that would have put the clamps on unions was pulled before a vote Tuesday at the Capitol.
House Bill 418 would outlaw police officers, firefighters and teachers from having union dues automatically taken out of paychecks. Unions would then have a tougher time collecting money and could result in higher fees if unions have to hire bookkeepers. Members would also have to pay fees on their own time.
"The intent is to destroy us. That's the bottom line," said Steve Monaghan of Louisiana Federation of Teachers. "They want this fight because they don't like the words we speak and the advocacy that we are involved in. Darn shame is they've been wrong on many, many issues."
The bill's sponsor, Rep. Stuart Bishop, a Lafayette Republican, says the government should not deduct dues that could be directed to political activity he dislikes.
Union leaders say business groups like Louisiana Association of Business and Industry want to crush unions.
"They will crush the voice of the working people," said Police Union President Sgt. Chris Stewart. "That's their goal to crush our voice, so we won't have any influence over legislative affairs, anything that happens at the Capitol and anything that happens anywhere. They want their voice to be the only voice heard."
While lawmakers deal with budget cuts, unions also feel the bill is a waste of time. LABI did not return calls to comment on its support of the bill. The bill can be brought back up again during the legislative session for a vote.