During the past legislative session, Governor Corbett and Republican lawmakers repudiated the tax and spend policies of the previous administration which in turn, chartered a new course towards fiscal responsibility. Expanding upon the successes of the last two years, a group of State House members have introduced legislation to end the commonwealth’s compulsory unionism. Right-to-work labor reform is critical to giving workers choice as to whether or not they wish to join a union while providing a much needed boost for the state’s economy.
According to current Pennsylvania law, employees represented by organized labor, whether it is in private enterprise or a government agency, are required to pay fees to the union as a condition of their employment. There is a commonly held belief that forced dues are necessary to deter free riders, or workers not contributing to their union representation.
Far from being a freeloader, there are considerable numbers of workers that disagree with the political causes and advocacy of their union. Unions almost exclusively support Democratic political campaigns despite the fact that 37 percent of their members vote Republican. Additionally, it would be inaccurate to depict all workers benefitting from being part of a collective bargaining unit. For example, in the arena of public education, there are many teachers that would benefit from merit pay as opposed to the seniority pay scale system.
Right-to-work states’ economies also outperform their compulsory union counterparts. For decades, states with right-to-work laws have reported lower unemployment rates and tout higher annual gains in employment. Not only are employment prospects better, but personal income growth outpaces that of forced unionism states.
In 2012, Indiana became the 23rd right-to-work state and is already reaping the benefits. The state’s commerce secretary testified before the legislature and noted that the recently passed labor reform was a direct factor in creating thousands of new jobs and attracting well over a billion dollars in business investment.
Ending Pennsylvania’s compulsory unionism protects the fundamental right to work free of coercive union dues and fosters increased job creation and investment throughout the state. The legislation costs nothing to taxpayers and puts hard earned money back in the pockets of workers that feel ill-served or misrepresented by their labor union.