State House Committee Hears Testimony on Open Workforce Bills

A State House Committee heard testimony on four bills in the open workforce initiative.   Representative Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler), sponsor of the Right to Work bill, says it’s a basic issue of individual liberty. He told the state House Labor and Industry committee that Pennsylvania, without such a law, encourages coercive union practices in the public and private sectors. Metcalfe says the bills would put the power back into the hands of the employees. The bills would eliminate the authority of unions to collect dues from non-members.

Rick Bloomingdale, President of the Pennsylvania AFL CIO, called the bills an effort to weaken collective bargaining. He says the legislation would give an advantage to the employer, harm workers and their families and block Pennsylvania’s economic recovery.

Abe Amoros, Pa legislative Director of the Laborers’ International Union of North America, echoed those concerns. He told the panel the bills do nothing but hurt working people and their families. He says they’re not based on sound and logical business practices.

Representative Bill Keller (D-Phila) thinks it’s an issue of fairness. He said if you’re being represented and you’re making a good wage and receiving good benefits, you should pay at least your fair share to the collective bargaining that gets that done for you.

But Representative Scott Boyd (R-Lancaster) says there are people who don’t want to belong to unions. He points to some teachers who have confided in him that they really don’t want to be in the union.

Representative Fred Keller (R-Union) posed a question to Abe Amoros and Rick Bloomingdale, asking them if they believe unions have a good product to offer.  When both answered “yes”, he said if their product is that good, he fails to understand why we need to compulse people to purchase it.

The package includes House Bills 50, 51, 52 and 53.