Worker Empowerment Begins with Choice
As Pennsylvanians return to work following Labor Day celebrations, it’s an appropriate time to ask: what does a fair, employee-focused workplace look like?
It shouldn’t involve blocking workers’ ability to dictate their own employment terms or control their union representation. Unfortunately, that’s the reality for thousands of Pennsylvania workers bound by public sector union restrictions.
Luckily, the state legislature has several opportunities to enhance the voices and choices of public sector workers in the jobs.
- Informing workers of their rights. Rep. Kate Klunk’s HB 2571 ensures all new and non-member government workers are notified that they are not required to join a union or pay a non-member agency fee as a condition of their employment, as the Supreme Court ruled in Janus v. ASCFME.
- Considering a majority of union members support the Janus decision, educating workers’ of this popular right should be a top legislative priority.
- Expanding the right to resign. Rep. Fred Keller’s HB 2593 regularly alerts workers of their right to resign from a union in an expanded 45-day window.
- Taking this a step further, Rep. Greg Rothman’s planned legislation will eliminate this punitive and unnecessary requirement (called maintenance of membership) restricting when employees can join and leave a union.
- Giving workers voting rights. Rep. Seth Grove plans to introduce legislation granting workers the regular opportunity to maintain or change their union representation.
- Providing all workers a voice in workplace strikes. Rep. Cris Dush introduced HB 2586 requiring a majority of public sector employees to authorize a union strike via secret ballot vote.
- Protecting home care workers. Gov. Wolf’s executive overreach authorizes state government to interfere with the in-home care of the elderly and individuals with disabilities—and take nearly $8 million annually in precious health care funds from home care workers’ salaries. The General Assembly can right this wrong.
Truly respecting workers means restoring their control over their workplace and representation.