As a state employee I am irate that my constitutional rights are being violated by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees ("State workers to pay unions," July 5).

I wouldn't be so angry if the non-union member fee wasn't just $4 less than the dues for union members. I assumed the fee would be something around $5 per pay period.

I believe the fee was intentionally set high to increase union membership, which will increase Democratic support. I just mailed a voter registration card to change my party affiliation to Republican from Democrat.

I'm not asking to be represented by anyone, and I feel that unions have outlived their usefulness.

I reduced my health care coverage to alleviate the sting of three years with no pay increases, furloughs and service reduction days. Now, without my consent, there go my intended savings.

It infuriates me that AFSCME contributed tens of thousands of dollars to the Democratic Party. Now I am being forced to contribute to a political party I have absolutely no faith in as well. 

I also believe that the one and only reason the fee was not implemented last fiscal year was an intentional delay tactic on Gov. Martin Malley’s part because he knew he would have never been re-elected.

I joined AFSME only because there are certain perks to being a member such as a discount on cell phone plans.  I wonder, since I’m a member now, should I ask them to represent me in my grievance against the union?

Kathryn Tebby, Brooklyn Park