One thing that drives me crazy is when people jump all in on one side of an issue and have no real knowledge of why they chose that side other than someone told them it was a good idea. One such issue is the Right to Work issue.
There is no doubt that unions were necessary in this country and their formation came at great expense and loss of life. American workers fought hard against politicians and the greedy businessmen that lined their pockets.
Union dues were collected and used to further the causes of the American worker. Fast forward to 2013 and the union’s coffers have been seriously depleted. Many believe the unions have outlived their usefulness.
Pennsylvania is rich in labor union history. Philadelphia tailors founded one of the earliest and most influential labor organizations, the Knights of Labor, in 1869.
In 1892 violence ended the Homestead Steel strike in Homestead, Pa. The owners of the steel plant hired 300 Pinkerton Detectives to protect non-union workers and the plant. The strike was thwarted.
In 1938, the Fair Labor Standards Act guaranteed a minimum wage. 11 years later child labor was finally outlawed.
By 1960 34% of American workers belonged to a union.
In 1962 Pennsylvania’s Right to Work was organized, independent from any national organization.
In 1964 Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibited employment discrimination based on color, race, religion, sex or national origin.
In 1970 the Occupational Safety and Health Act [OSHA] went into effect to assure safe and healthful working conditions.
In 1997 only 14% of American workers belonged to unions.
In 2005 the Teamsters and Service Employees Unions announced their departure from the AFL-CIO. The split has been considered organized labors worst crisis since 1935.
Those that support Right to Work believe that employees should not be required to join a union as a condition for employment. It is as simple and as complicated as that.
Now instead of the greedy businessmen lining the pockets of crooked politicians the unions are the ones supporting those political campaigns that they feel will benefit their agendas.
70% of Pennsylvania residents believe unions are no longer needed. Everything the unions were founded for has become law. Many believe unions now seem to protect only those lazy and incompetent members, wasting their hard -earned dues.
Susan Staub has been president of Pennsylvania’s for Right to Work since 1987. She agreed to answer a few questions.
Can you explain (for dummies) exactly what PARTW is?
Pennsylvanians for Right to work, Inc is a non-profit citizens organization dedicated to the elimination of compulsory unionism and the advancement of individual liberty in the Keystone State.
The organization advances the principle that everyone has the right, but no one should be compelled to join or support a labor union as a condition of getting or keeping a job.
How many registered unions are there in Pennsylvania? How many union members in Pennsylvania?
As of 2012, 734.000 Pennsylvanians were members of 51 registered unions, with 1400 locals
Do you have any idea how much money Pennsylvania unions donated to 2012 political campaigns?
Every union contributed to political campaigns in the 2012 election cycle, overwhelmingly to Democrat candidates, though some Republicans also received union backing.
Who loses in Pennsylvania if RTW passes? Who wins in Pennsylvania if RTW passes?
Since Right to Work does not interfere with any legitimate union objective nor with collective bargaining, we would say that everyone wins when freedom of choice with respect to unionism is returned to the worker, where it belongs. Compulsory unionism blatantly flies in the face of First Amendment guarantees of freedom of association.
Union Officials are shrill about what they percieve to be their entitlement to the monetary assets of individual workers who neither want nor have asked for their ‘representation’.
Plus, if representing non-members is the ‘burden’ the union officials claim, then the simple solution is to change the law so that they only have to represent their members. We’re on record, which I repeat here, that we are willing to join Pa Union Officials at any time in making this change.
Their unwillingness to join us speaks volumes about them!
When you are not freedom-fighting for your fellow Pennsylvania’s what do you enjoy
In my ‘spare’ time’, I love volunteer work in my community as well as any and all kinds of music. My very large extended family also keeps me busy…and happy, as my work does. It’s been said of me (and it’s probably true) that I’ve always been a freedom fighter. I honestly can’t think of anything I’d rather do!
If Pennsylvanians want to nudge their representatives to get RTW done, where would they start?
All Pennsylvanians interested in helping to advance freedom and jobs should contact us at www.parighttowork.org to find out where their state legislators stand and what they can do to urge their lawmakers to get involved. Citizen action is vital, encouraged…and easy! Our offices offer unparalled support for involvement with a large and growing team of Pennsylvania citizen volunteers.
I would like to thank Susan and her office for helping us to understand exactly what Right to Work is. I asked several state representatives to contribute as well and did not so much as get an answer to my e-mail from one of them, on either side of the issue. That is very frustrating because as a voting resident of this state I feel I deserve to know, we all do where our representatives stand on current issues.
Governor Corbett has gone on record to say he would sign a Right to Work Bill if it landed on his desk. His spokesperson Kevin Harley said it is not a top priority for the Governor.
Are you for or against right to work and why?