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Public Employee Unions Rally in Harrisburg Against Anti-Checkoff Bill

By Tony Romeo

HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) -- Hundreds of union members gathered today at the Pennsylvania state capitol for a rally against legislation that would prohibit the deduction of union dues and political action committee contributions from the paychecks of public-sector employees.

State representative Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster County) is the sponsor of a bill in the state House to prohibit state and local governments from deducting union dues from paychecks.  Cutler says he wants to "put up a bright line between political activity and public assets."

Critics say the measure, backed by conservative groups around the country, is an effort to undercut the financial stability of the unions.

Today, Rick Bloomingdale, president of the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO, addressed hundreds of union supporters at a capitol rally in opposition to the legislation.

"It is nothing more than outside billionaires coming into Pennsylvania to try to silence workers. That's all this is," he said.

The legislation has stirred passion on both sides, but there is no indication that action is imminent in either the Pennsylvania House or Senate.

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