Voters say NO to LABI's attack on public servants

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BATON ROUGE, LA – April 7, 2015 - A new poll released Thursday by Lake Research Partners shows significant bi-partisan opposition to the so-called “Paycheck Protection Act” (HB 418) currently being considered by the Louisiana Legislature.

The poll - which sampled registered voters of all three political parties across the state - found that by a two-to-one ratio, Louisianans oppose the divisive legislation which would silence the voices of the state’s most dedicated public servants, while still allowing for corporations to utilize dues deduction services to collect dollars that would be used for political purposes.

Louisiana Federation of Teachers President Steve Monaghan said the results are evidence that voters see this attempt for what it is: a power grab intended to silence the voices of professionals they like and trust.

“While the wealthy and powerful business lobby is plotting to bring a national union-busting campaign to Louisiana, the people of our state have proven they have a completely different viewpoint,” Monaghan said. “Louisiana voters believe unions have a positive impact on wages, salaries, and standards of living; in fact, a majority of those surveyed had a favorable opinion of unions in general.”

The poll - conducted in late April 2015 - also expressed voters’ overwhelming support for the state’s teachers, fire fighters, police officers, nurses, and other public service workers. Teachers and fire fighters received a whopping 90 percent favorability rating from Louisiana families who - according to the poll - view the move to ban public workers from utilizing dues deduction services as unnecessary. Survey results also show that Louisiana voters support the right of public employees to join unions and pay their dues through payroll deduction. Living in a right-to-work state, it is a worker’s choice to join a union, and President of the Louisiana Association of Educators Debbie Meaux said many choose to do so because it is a democratic freedom afforded to them as a U.S. citizen.

“Freedom of speech and association are critical to a representative form of government, and membership in a union allows workers to partake in this constitutional right,” Meaux said. “Through union advocacy efforts, employees can take comfort in knowing their professional concerns are addressed, as union representatives make sure members’ voices are heard in the policy-making process, when the members, themselves, cannot be available to contribute their own, first-hand feedback to the discussion.”

Behind closed doors, the paymasters at the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry (LABI) are extremely upfront with their own members on the true intentions of the bill. In a video posted to the LABI website, leader Lane Grigsby was recorded saying: “Guys, this is where you grab the aorta and you shut it off. Honest to goodness, it’s the truth. If you control the money flow, you control the success.” The video can be viewed at the following link: http://www.nola.com/opinions/index.ssf/2015/05/labi_leader_paycheck_prot....  

The attempts of the rich and powerful to silence the voices of those organizations that are the most outspoken opponents to big-business proposals have never been more prevalent. President of the Louisiana AFL-CIO Louis Reine said the move is a troublesome distraction from the hard work that legislators should be focusing on this session.

“Louisiana families agree, there are much more important issues to spend our time and resources on than ending workers’ access to an elected service,” Reine said. “The state faces a $1.6 billion budget deficit, crumbling roads and bridges, and a nearly bankrupt university system. Certain lawmakers should turn their attention to these problems, instead of attacking our state’s most dedicated public servants.”

HB 418 is scheduled for debate by the full Louisiana House of Representatives on Tuesday, May 12. For more information, visit http://laworkingforyou.com.