Today, the House Labor and Industry Committee passed the employee rights notification bill, HB 785. Sponsored by Rep. Kate Klunk (R-Hanover), this legislation ensures public employees can make informed choices about union membership.
Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Janus v. AFSCME that unions can no longer force public employees to pay union fees just to keep their jobs. The problem? Pennsylvania law still allows unions to impose these “fair share fees” on non-members—violating the Court’s ruling. Plus, government doesn’t have to tell workers about their options.
Without proactive legislative protections, workers are being deprived of their constitutional rights to freely choose what organizations they join and support.
This became apparent when, during a hearing on similar legislation last session, Pennsylvania teacher Greg Hartnett testified he had heard nothing about the option to not pay fees.
Government unions are fighting hard to keep workers uninformed. Francisco Molina, a former social worker, exposed his union for using deceptive, fine-print membership cards to trap workers in unions. State liquor store clerk John Kabler was outright lied to when his union saying he had to become a full dues-payming member to hold his job.
These same union leaders are unlikely to change tactics and begin empowering workers with greater information and choice. Unfortunately, many government employers have followed their lead. For example, when John Kabler’s employer, the state Liquor Control Board, had a chance to notify all workers of their new rights under Janus, they instead opted to keep workers in the dark.
Luckily, lawmakers have taken the first step toward helping Pennsylvania workers like Greg, Francisco, and John. HB 785 not only strikes Pennsylvania's unconstitutional laws on the books, but also requires government to tell non-union workers and new hires they don’t have to join a union or pay a fee.
It’s simple. Workers deserve to be informed. All Pennsylvania representatives now have a chance to pass the employee rights notification bill, equipping workers to take control of their union membership. We thank Rep. Klunk and the members of the House Labor and Industry Committee that voted to pass this important bill:
- Jim Cox – Berks
- Cris Dush – Jefferson
- Torren Ecker – Adams
- Mindy Fee – Lancaster
- Rich Irvin – Huntingdon
- Dawn Keefer – York
- Fred Keller – Snyder
- Kate Klunk – York
- Ryan Mackenzie – Lehigh
- David Maloney – Berks
- Lori Mizgorski – Allegheny
- Eric Nelson – Westmoreland
- Michael Puskaric – Allegheny
- Paul Schemel – Franklin
- Justin Walsh – Westmoreland