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Pennsylvania Must Join with Majority of States in Restoring Right to Work
4/12/2016
HARRISBURG — State lawmakers, leaders from organizations across the Commonwealth and other individuals dedicated to making Pennsylvania America’s next right-to-work state officially reintroduced the Pennsylvania Open Workforce Initiative (House Bills 1750-55) on Tuesday.

“With the recent addition of neighboring West Virginia, there are now more right-to-work states in the U.S. than compulsory-union states,” said Representative Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler). “The governor can mislead all he wants about the so-called structural deficit or the need for recurring revenue (massive tax increases), but the major impediment to both individual freedom and economic growth that Wolf refuses to acknowledge is that job-creating businesses consider right-to-work laws a non-negotiable factor in determining the best states to locate and which states to leave. Best of all, in terms of overall fiscal impact, the total taxpayer cost of restoring right to work in Pennsylvania is absolutely ZERO.”

America’s 26 right-to-work states consistently lead the nation in all aspects of real economic growth and overall quality of life, with higher net jobs gained, lower taxation and more people with private or employment-based health insurance. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, between 2004 and 2014, private sector job growth in forced unionism states decreased by 9.9 percent, while private sector job growth in right-to-work states increased by 5.5 percent.

Designed to protect the individual freedoms of Pennsylvania’s working citizens and energize the economy by ending the practice of compulsory unionism, specific legislation and bill sponsors for the Pennsylvania Open Workforce Initiative are as follows:

House Bill 1750, the Freedom of Employment Act, sponsored by Metcalfe, would make all employment in Pennsylvania no longer conditional upon union membership or paying dues to a union.

House Bill 1751, sponsored by Representative Kathy Rapp (R-Warren/Forest/Crawford), would prohibit labor unions from collecting compulsory union dues from non-union public school employees.

House Bill 1752, sponsored by Representative Fred Keller (R-Union/Snyder), would prohibit labor organizations from collecting compulsory union dues from non-union state employees.

House Bill 1753, sponsored by Representative Steve Bloom (R-Cumberland), would prohibit labor organizations from collecting compulsory union dues from non-union local government employees.

House Bill 1754, sponsored by Representative Jerry Knowles (R-Berks/Carbon/Schuylkill), would prohibit private-sector employment from being conditional upon membership or non-membership in a labor organization. Compulsory dues would be prohibited for non-union members.

House Bill 1755, sponsored by Representative Rob Kauffman (R-Franklin), would give public employees the freedom to opt out of their union membership at any time during their contract. Current law only allows employees to terminate their union membership 15 days prior to the expiration of the contract.

“I consider this package of legislation a declaration of independence that will empower Pennsylvania workers to decide whether or not to join or financially support a labor union,” said Keller. “In other words, they should have the right to decide whether they want to spend their hard-earned money to pay for union membership or spend that money to put food on their table, keep their homes a few degrees warmer during the winter months, or invest in a college education for their children.”

Currently in Pennsylvania, no less than 660,000 workers are forced to pay union dues as a condition of employment.

“Forcing someone to join any organization against their wishes violates the basic American principle of individual liberty,” Bloom said. “We must empower every worker by restoring their freedom to choose whether or not to join a union without unfairly risking the loss of their job.”

According to a 2015 Forbes report eight of the top 10 best states to do business are right-to-work states; while seven of the top 10 worst states to do business are forced unionism states. Pennsylvania ranks 36th on the list of the best states to do business.
“This is a commonsense initiative. It’s important that people have the right to choose whether they want to be part of a union or not,” Knowles said. “It gives people the right to say ‘no’ to union membership. My bill is specific to private-sector employees. It prohibits employees in the private sector from being forced into a union.”

A 2015 Heritage Foundation report revealed that unionized firms are 10 percent more likely to go out of business within seven years; and the top 10 most expensive states to live in are forced unionism states.

“It’s time we move past this antiquated system and provide employees with the right to decide whether or not they wish to be part of a union,” said Kauffman. “This is not a movement against unions, but rather a movement in favor of individual employee rights.”

Pennsylvania House of Representatives
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Media Contact: Ty McCauslin
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