Tag Archives: dues

Bill Curbing TSEA Activities Clears House Panel, Delayed in Senate

A bill putting new restrictions on the Tennessee State Employees Union – enough to disable or eliminate many of the organization’s functions, according to a TSEA official – won approval of the House State Government Committee on Wednesday.
The bill (HB913) is being pushed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and is sponsored by House Republican Caucus Chairman Glen Casada, who said it is intended to assure that state employee dues “do not go into political areas.”
But Sarah Adair, director of government affairs for TSEA, said the bill actually forbids TSEA from using dues money for anything but collective bargaining, enforcing a bargaining contract or helping members with grievance procedures. The bill permits lobbying only to the extent of contacting the group’s own members.
Since Tennessee prohibits state employee collective bargaining and there are no contracts, the organization would effectively be left to do nothing to handle grievances, she said. And even that may be in doubt because a state law enacted last year eliminates the term “grievance” in state law and instead sets up an appeals system for a state work who believes he or she has been wrongly disciplined or discharged, Adair said.
The bill is a case of a “national organization bringing a bill to a state that does not have a problem” with public employee labor unions “that may be a problem in other states,” she told the subcommittee in remarks limited to one minute by the panel’s chairman.
In the Senate, where the bill is sponsored by Sen. Stacey Campfield, R-Knoxville, the measure was discussed at length in the Commerce Committee and a vote and Campfield agreed to a week’s delay to consider amendments.
The bill declares that union dues cannot be used for political activities unless voluntarily donated. Adair said TSEA already requires members to check off whether or not a portion of dues can be sent to the group’s political action committee and the organization would not object to that provision.
Current law also allows a TSEA member to take a two-year, unpaid leave of absence to serve as president of TSEA. The bill reduces that to one year and Campfield said that is not an area where he thinks there can be a compromise, though Adair said the president – as now the case – is typically retired because active employees cannot afford to take unpaid leave

Ban on TEA Using Dues for Lobbying May Be Reconsidered (turns out another group is impacted)

By Erik Schelzig
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Republican sponsor of a bill targeting the influence of the state’s largest teachers’ union says he is willing to revisit an element of the measure that prevents payroll deductions to be used to fund lobbying efforts at the Tennessee Capitol.
Under the bill signed into law this month by Republican Gov. Bill Haslam, teachers’ professional organizations will no longer be allowed to use the payroll deductions for political purposes ranging from political contributions to lobbying and polling.
The provision is part of a measure replacing teachers’ collective bargaining rights with a concept called “collaborative conferencing.”
The Tennessee Education Association represents 52,000 educators and has long been a heavy contributor to Democratic candidates.
The measure also affects the smaller rival Professional Educators of Tennessee, which has been more supportive of other parts of the Republican bill. PET executive director J.C. Bowman said he agrees with the law’s ban on political contributions but not on the lobbying prohibition.

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