To the editor:
One of the primary charges of a state legislator is to support the Constitution and, thus, the First Amendment rights of his or her citizens. That is why the legislature’s interest in protecting the paychecks of public employees is heartening.
Currently many of Missouri’s unionized public employees have to “opt out” of having dues removed from their paychecks that would be used for union political activities, activities with which many employees may disagree. Yet, these free speech dollars should presumptively be the employee’s, not the union’s. The present system has this backward.
A modest reform that would allow employees to instead opt into directly paying for union political activities would be a wise one. Let employees donate to political causes as they see fit, and let unions compete for those dollars like everyone else.