How much will the union bosses’ income stream fall, when dues money no longer flows from employee paychecks directly into their coffers? Writing in the New York Post earlier this month, Rich Lowry laid out the worst-case scenario for Big Labor, based on some previous examples:
“When Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels ended collective bargaining and the automatic collection of dues in 2005, the number of members paying dues plummeted by roughly 90 percent. In 2007, New York City’s Transit Authority briefly stopped automatically collecting dues for the Transport Workers Union, and dues fell off by more than a third.”
The financial damage to unions will actually be even worse than the amount of dues withheld by defiant, or delinquent, public employees. The state of Wisconsin has actually been performing an extremely valuable service by collecting these dues automatically and handing the bundled loot over to the union hierarchy. Private companies pay a great deal of money to maintain Accounts Receivable departments and collections agents. Imagine the WEAC was a private concern with 98,000 customers. The amount they would spend on collecting fees from those customers would be a significant line item on their budget.
This will all leave the unions with much less money to slip into Democrat pockets – but again, the damage is even worse than the total amount of campaign dollars lost. Many union members are not Democrats, and some of them will likely begin demanding more control over how union money is spent, now that the dues don’t magically disappear out of their paychecks. This will greatly reduce the unions’ ability to make promises to Democrat politicians, in exchange for political services.
Money is a very important thing. You can encourage people to do all kinds of things when you give them the right financial incentives. And policies create those financial incentives. That’s why we need to win elections.