UE 170 members swept up in “retaliation” against teachers

House Bill 2009, which in its current form would completely ban the state from collecting and forwarding elective dues deductions for unions and employee organizations, passed the state Senate today (Tuesday) on a 20-13 vote. Two Republicans joined the 11 Democrats in opposition.

The Senate Judiciary Committee altered the original House bill with a “strike-and-insert” amendment calling for the total ban, inserting this language multiple times: “No deductions or assignment of earnings shall be allowed for union, labor organization, or club dues or fees from the compensation of officers or employees covered by this section.”

The House version was less restrictive, though it would make union members authorize a dues deduction yearly. The House will be asked to concur with the Senate’s changes, and the two chambers will have to agree on a final version.

Currently, most of our members opt for dues deduction of $20 per month ($9.23 per pay period for 26-paycheck employees) by signature, and it remains in effect until the employee ends the deduction or leaves state employment. We see no problem with that system.

Neither do the teachers’ unions or organizations representing law enforcement, such as the FOP, or the teachers. Those organizations, as well as UE Local 170, see the bill as a blatant attempt to hamper or even kill the organizations.

UE Local 170 has prepared for such a legislative action, and already accepts payment by cash, check or credit card. But dues deduction remains the preferred method of payment by the membership.

Senator Mike Romano, who represents Harrison, Lewis, Braxton, Clay and part of Gilmer County, called the bill “simply retribution, punishment” of the teachers for their recent strikes. A Democrat from the Huntington area noted that teachers weren’t allowed into the Capitol to voice their concerns, due to COVID restrictions, and proponents took advantage.

Charles Trump IV is leading the move toward the dues deduction ban. Another Eastern Panhandle Republican, Craig Blair, is the Senate President. They claim state payroll departments should not serve as “collection agencies” for dues, and it brings an undue burden on taxpayers.

We urge members to contact your House of Delegates representative to voice your concerns, and to start contacting Governor Jim Justice.

For questions or to share information, call (304) 347-4396 or email to [email protected]ocal170.org.

***

House Bill 2011, which will eliminate the 1,000-hour limit for part-time employees to be exempt from civil service protections, passed the House by a unanimous vote Tuesday, and will go to the governor.