2017 Labor Reform Roundup

Is Pennsylvania a worker-friendly state? According to our updated, comprehensive report grading each state’s public sector labor laws’, the answer is no.

Pennsylvania ranks a measly “D” compared to others states that respect a worker’s ability to choose union membership, protect taxpayers from collecting someone else’s political money, require negotiation transparency, and more.

Click here to read the full report.

Several states have passed notable reforms in 2017. These victories should inspire Pennsylvania to pursue reforms in 2018 that enhance workers' rights and protect taxpayers.

  • Iowa: Passed bills that prohibit the collection of union dues, require regular union recertification elections, and set the parameters of government union negotiations to base wages (except for public safety workers).
  • Kentucky: Became a right-to-work state and requires employee authorization before unions can use the government to automatically collect dues from workers’ paychecks.
  • Missouri: Passed right-to-work, but is awaiting a November 2018 voter referendum to fully implement the law.
  • Washington: Authorized mild contract transparency measures requiring the posting of all state union contracts, modifications, and summaries that include details such as compensation, benefits, and provisions for reopening the contract.  
  • Maine: In August, Governor LePage's administration negotiated 2-year state contracts that eliminated union fees as a condition of employment in exchange for higher raises for state workers and 800 corrections officers and mental health workers.

Meanwhile, right-to-work continues to withstand court battles. 

While a pending case seeks to overturn Kentucky’s right-to-work law, both state and federal court lawsuits challenging Wisconsin’s right-to-work law failed in 2017. Meanwhile, the West Virginia Supreme Court upheld the legality of right-to-work by overruling a circuit court injunction of the 2016 law, writing, “The unions have not directed us to any federal or state appellate court that, in over seven decades, has struck down such a law.”

Public sector labor reforms continue to spread across the nation. Instead of being left behind, Pennsylvania can pursue reforms that make Pennsylvania a more attractive place to live and work.