?457.1. Professional law enforcement and firefighter association dues
Any employee of the state or of any political subdivision of the state may authorize his employer to withhold from his salary a specific amount for such pay periods as may be designated, for payment of his dues to any professional state or local law enforcement or firefighter association which is located or is operating a chapter within the respective jurisdiction and to which the employee belongs. The employee must voluntarily execute and furnish to the employer a written and specific authorization for such deduction. Upon receipt of such authorization, and in accordance with the instructions contained therein, the employer shall begin to make such deductions. The amounts withheld shall be remitted forthwith to the organization designated by the employee. The provisions of this Section shall not apply to any employee of the local sheriff's office or parish law enforcement district.
The repeal of this statute would destroy the ability of associations like the Fraternal Order of Police to fund themselves through payroll deduction of member dues.
Both bills have been assigned to their respective Labor and Industrial Relations committees, neither of which have scheduled hearings. The LAFOP State Lodge will be issuing another "Call to Action" on this issue in coming days. In the meantime, FOP Employee Representative Donovan Livaccari has penned the below Letter to the Editor and has submitted it to the New Orleans Advocate:
Letter to the Editor
HB 418 and SB 204 propose to do away with a public employee's ability to have money voluntarily deducted from their paychecks. Brigitte Nieland of the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry suggests that "Louisiana taxpayers are supporting the automatic collection of dollars to go and fund projects that they say they do not support." Wait. What?
First of all, these bills are not about tax dollars. And, no Ms. Nieland did not say that it was tax dollars being directed to objectionable projects. She thinks that some taxpayers may object to what these employees spend their hard-earned money on. To make matters worse, public employers are helping their employees plan so they can achieve a couple of minor financial goals.
As pointed out in this article, the cost of allowing employees to utilize payroll deduction is negligible, particularly in light of modern technology utilized in payroll processing.
So, what is really at issue? Stephen Waguespack points out that 5.2% of Louisianans are members of labor unions. It is those 5.2% of Louisianans, like those pesky teachers, firefighters, and police officers, that we need to watch. As Mr. Waguespack is fond of pointing out, Louisiana is a Right-to-Work state. In spite of its promising name, being a Right-to-Work state does not mean you are entitled to a job, but that you do not need to belong to a labor union. So, in a Right-to-Work state, those that belong to labor unions do so because they choose to do so. Presumably, those folks approve of how their organization is spending their money.
If 5.2% of Louisianans belong to a labor union, then 94.8% must not belong to a labor union. Therein lies the bulk of people who will be disadvantaged by this proposed law.
In New Orleans, over 90% of police officers belong to the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP). They do so voluntarily. The New Orleans Police Department operates without a collective bargaining agreement, so there is no labor union. The FOP does advocate for better working conditions, compensation, and safety for police officers, but it does not bargain with the City of New Orleans.
Last year, the FOP used the money it collected by payroll deduction on a Pancake Breakfast with Santa for underprivileged kids, it sent FOP members for training and helped FOP members prepare for promotional exams. The FOP hosted a bicycle registration event, paid for police recruits to participate in the Race for a Cure. The FOP also provided scholarships and services to its members and their families.
Payroll deductions make this possible.
Donovan A. Livaccari, Attorney at Law
Livaccari Villarrubia Lemmon LLC
101 West Robert E. Lee Blvd., Suite 402
New Orleans, LA 70124
Office: 504-488-3702 Cell: 504-905-8280