Lawmakers, Right to Work Advocates, Teachers and Other Impacted Employees Rally for PA Open Workforce Initiative
11/10/2009
Legislative package would protect the individual freedoms of Pennsylvania’s working citizens, schools and the economy by ending the practice of compulsory unionism
 
State House members, leaders from organizations across the state and other affected individuals committed to ending the practice of compulsory unionism in Pennsylvania joined Reps. Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler), Kathy Rapp (R-Warren), Sam Rohrer (R-Berks) and Tom Creighton (R-Lancaster) for a rally at the state Capitol today to officially reintroduce the Pennsylvania Open Workforce Initiative (House Bills 50-53)
 
“It’s not hard to visualize the devastating economic impact resulting from Pennsylvania’s ongoing failure to become America’s 23rd Right to Work State,” said Metcalfe. “Simply look for the nearest empty industrial complex and the expanding size of the geographically corresponding unemployment line. Caterpillar, Mack Trucks, Williams-Sonoma, Carlisle Tire and Wheel and Harley-Davidson are just some of the high-profile, staple employers who already have or are presently considering taking thousands of Pennsylvania jobs and relocating to any one of America’s 22 Right to Work states. 
 
“The framers of our Constitution never intended for our government to become an enforcer for unions or a collector of forced union dues at taxpayer expense. As the ever-growing Exodus of job-providing Pennsylvania companies demonstrates business owners will not submit, but instead close up shop and leave to avoid the consequences of compulsory unionism. Bottom line: Working men and women should have the freedom to join a union if they choose and to leave that union when it is in their best interest to do so. With the enactment of the Pennsylvania Open Workforce Initiative, they would never again have to fear losing their jobs or not being able to provide for their families due to forced unionism,” Metcalfe added.  
 
Designed to protect the individual freedoms of Pennsylvania’s working citizens, schools and the economy by ending the practice of compulsory unionism, specific legislation and bill sponsors for the Pennsylvania Open Workforce Initiative are as follows: 
  • HB 50 Freedom of Employment Act—Rep. Daryl Metcalfe - Under this free-standing Right to Work legislation, employment will no longer be conditional upon membership or non-membership in a union, nor upon payment or non-payment of money to a labor organization. The Freedom of Employment Act will also relieve the collective bargaining unit from providing benefits that union members enjoy, such as grievance filing and support, and wage and benefit increases.    
  • HB 51 Repeal of Act 84—(School Employee “Agency Shop” Law)—Rep. Kathy Rapp -This legislation would return the individual decision of whether or not to join or support a labor union to teachers and other public education employees.  
  • HB 52 Repeal of Act 84—(State Employee “Agency Shop” Law)—Rep. Tom Creighton - This legislation will amend the Administrative Code of 1929 to eliminate the authority to impose forced fees on state employees.  
  • HB 53 Repeal of Act 15—(Local Employee “Agency Shop” Law)—Rep. Sam Rohrer - This Right to Work protection bill would return the individual freedom of choice to all local, municipal, county and township employees to decide for themselves which private organizations they wish to support and preventing the collection of compulsory union dues. 
“It is unconscionable for any level of government to allow union leaders to profit or maintain their existence by leeching off the earnings of another,” said Rapp. “Approximately 67 percent of Pennsylvania school districts operate under forced union contracts, which means that 75 percent of all public school teachers must join or pay union dues in order to keep their jobs.   As the power of labor leaders grows through the collection of forced union dues, students, parents and citizens from all walks of life are held hostage to their demands and almost always end up paying the ransom through even higher taxes.   Each of the bills we’re introducing here today has the potential to provide our working citizens with the freedom to join and support only those organizations that promote and share their values.”
 
“My legislation will provide state employees with the freedom of choice when it comes to participation in labor unions,” said Creighton. “Of course, the fact that legislative action is necessary in order to stop this immoral practice is disheartening. I only hope that our progress on this important workforce issue will serve as an example for others.”
 
“This initiative is about protecting the rights of individuals to choose the organizations they join,” said Rohrer. “The freedom of association should not end when a teacher enters a school building or a local government worker enters a town hall or the county courthouse.  In any other circumstance, we would find it unconscionable to even think about forcing someone to join a group with which they disagree.  Compulsory participation in a private organization - which is what forced unionism amounts to - is contrary to the very foundation of personal liberty upon which our Commonwealth and our country are built.  It's time to protect the personal freedom of workers, unleash the creative innovation that accompanies individual liberty and remove this roadblock that stands between our Commonwealth and future prosperity.”
 
Rep. Daryl Metcalfe
12th District
Rep. Kathy Rapp
65th District
Rep. Samuel Rohrer
128th District
Rep. Tom Creighton
37th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Contact: Ty McCauslin
(717) 772-9979