(LITTLE ROCK, Ark.) –Today, the Arkansas Senate Committee on Education approved a bill to end government collection of union dues from teachers’ paychecks.
Senate Bill 473, authored by Republican Sen. Joshua Bryant, now heads to the Senate floor.
Similar measures are currently working their way through the state legislatures in Florida, Tennessee and Kentucky.
Speaking on a panel at the U.S. Department of Labor, National Education Association president Becky Pringle commented on SB 473 and similar state bills, saying, “Here we are, looking at rights being taken away from union members, educators, workers, and students. The right to learn, the freedom to teach. Right here in our own country. In Florida, in Texas. The right to organize (is) being threatened this week in the state(s) of Kentucky, Arkansas and Tennessee.”
“When you’re taking flak, you know you’re over the target,” countered Rusty Brown, southern director for the Freedom Foundation. “Step back and take a look at what this bill actually does. It stops the state from acting as the debt collector for a private company — which is what the NEA is, a private company that brings in well over half a billion dollars every year. Automatic payment systems are readily available for anyone to set up today and the only logical reason the union leaders would fight this legislation is because they fear too many of their members won’t see the value in what they are selling.”
“When the unions fight bills that make it easier for teachers to keep more of their own hard-earned paychecks,” he said, “you know teachers aren’t the unions’ priority.”