[this is the information about unions that supports our contentions in the meeting notes below]
My name is Robert Kirk and l live in Keller, Texas. For the last 8 years I have served as the Financial Secretary – Treasurer for the Transport Workers Union, Local 567, in Fort Worth. My responsibilities include the handling of the donation requests to the TWU PAC, Committee on Political Education (COPE). I also process requests to stop contributions to COPE, as well as requests from our members who wish to withdraw their membership in the Local and become what is known as an Agency Fee Objector.
Many conservative web sites allege union dues money is used for political action, which I am sure you know, is illegal. These sites further suggest that our voluntary donations to COPE are not voluntary. The Sites make statements like “you may have trouble convincing some union members just how “voluntary” they are. ” Every month I process requests to start and stop contributions to COPE and we have no requirement to contribute. In fact, our current participation rate is less than sixty three percent (63%) of the eligible members. Furthermore, attempts by some unions to make political contribution mandatory have resulted in a Supreme Court decision, (Knox v. SEIU), upholding the member’s first amendment right to object.
The CWA v. Beck decision gives the union member the right to object and withdraw membership in the union and pay a fee (Agency Fee), for the portion of expenses related only to negotiation and representation. Our Local has three (3) such Objectors. Each year I am required to research what are the non-chargeable expenses, calculate the percentage of the dues discount and refund to them, being in Objector Status.
Citizens United expands the very thing conservatives accuse unions of doing. If corporations want to support politicians that are favorable to their business interest, they should have to do so in the light of day, just as the unions are required to do. By not having full disclosure, this veil of secrecy casts a negative light on our political process. It is quite easy to draw the connection between large contributions and political favors. lt would not take long at all for this to destroy our system of government, and one by one the very problems listed in our Declaration of Independence will once again surface.
I am in favor of a Constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United.