As you may have read in earlier posts, a bill that will prohibit you from being able to payroll deduct dues to ATPE or any other employee organization has passed the Texas Senate. SB 1968 by Sen. Joan Huffman (R) passed on a straight party line vote, with all Senate Republicans voting for the bill and all Senate Democrats voting against the bill.
Incredibly, legislators brought this bill up for a vote during Teacher Appreciation Week. It’s a completely unnecessary bill that dishonors all of our hard-working Texas school employees.
It is clear SB 1968 is politically motivated because it impacts only public employee unions and professional associations in all political subdivisions, including school districts, across the state. The bill exempts unions that represent police officers, firefighters, and EMS workers. When questioned, the bill’s author made it clear this is because she approves of these groups’ politics.
Ironically, the three groups that are exempted are actually unions and have gained collective bargaining rights at the local level, and they have all come out against the bill. The bill, which also exempts charities and other payroll deductions available to public employees, only targets public employee groups.
Certain members of the Senate have essentially taken it upon themselves to decide how you and your employer should manage your money. It is unfortunate that legislators have chosen to pick winners and losers when it comes to payroll deduction. The bill now heads to the Texas House for consideration.
ATPE delivered a letter and lobbied every Senate office on the day that this bill was placed on the Senate Calendar. The letter makes clear that ATPE is a professional association and not a union and that we are opposed to this bill because many ATPE members prefer to use this option for its safety and convenience. We also pointed out that the bill discriminates against specific classes of employees, and likely violates their First Amendment rights and political speech protections.
Despite all the smoke and mirrors about what the bill is intended to do, several issues are crystal clear. This bill is an unnecessary distraction from far more important issues facing our state, it is 100 percent politically motivated, and it is a slap in the face of hard-working public employees, including educators.