To enact important reforms before the end of legislative session, Pennsylvania lawmakers must run bills on a tight schedule. Unfortunately, on Wednesday House leadership removed a Janus enforcement bill (HB 2571) from consideration—meaning the House and Senate can’t pass the bill to the governor’s desk before session ends.
HB 2571, sponsored by Rep. Kate Klunk, applied the U.S. Supreme Court Janus v. AFSCME decision to Pennsylvania by repealing unconstitutional state laws and alerting all impacted employees of their workplace rights. Nearly one-third of union members aren’t aware of their new freedom for nonmembers to abstain from union fees. With workers in the dark, unions can continue to collect hundreds of dollars in dues from each member annually.
However, this legislation—and similar reforms—demonstrates the desire to improve conditions for over 300,000 Pennsylvanians bound by government union agreements. Despite determined interference from unions (who misled members about the bill) and union-backed legislators (who introduced over 70 amendments to delay the vote), the bill received robust attention and made it to the House floor.
Crucial progress was made this fall, and legislative champions and Pennsylvanians continue to be engaged. HB 2571 can be reintroduced, along with a slew of other reforms, to ensure Pennsylvania laws become constitutionally-compliant and workers make fully-informed decisions.
A majority of union members and the public support the Janus ruling, echoing the sentiment of Mark Janus and Keith Williams, two former public employees driven to fight full-time for worker empowerment. These employees deserve, and will receive, continued advocacy in 2019 to magnify their voices and choices.