A group called Pennsylvanians for Right to Work wasted no time using GE's plan to move jobs to Texas to bolster their case for making Pennsylvania a right to work state.
Just one day after GE union workers rallied to save 950 jobs bound for Texas, a right to work state, the group says it's starting an aggressive push to make Pennsylvania a right to work state too. The group based in Carlisle PA near Harrisburg will begin a petition campaign to end compulsory unionism. The campaign will start at the PA Leadership Conference this weekend and then move door to door across the state.
Here's what it means, an employee who joins a business with a union can decide not to join or take union benefits and instead negotiate their own deal.
PA Right to Work President and CEO Susan Staub issued a statement saying: "With right to work passing in Indiana and Michigan last year, the impetus is there to end this draconian practice here in Pennsylvania. We can't afford to fall further down the list of states businesses look at when choosing to do business, or we'll continue to lose jobs, like we saw with GE last week."
Spokesman Matthew Wagner said the push was in the works before GE happened. "It's just one more example of another business that's left Pennsylvania and gone elsewhere," said Wagner. He says Indiana is already showing that right to work is creating jobs and attracting business. He believes employers will still want to pay a fair wage whether an employee is a union worker or not.
Outgoing GE UE 506 president Roger Zaczyk does not see it that way. He thinks GE workers in Texas are not getting a good deal. "They're shafting the people in Texas as far as the wages go and not spreading the wealth, so for a few people to line their pockets versus keeping good family sustaining union jobs here in Erie that's what we have to weigh out."
Lawmakers in Pennsylvania are signing on to sponsor a package of seven right to work bills expected to be introduced in the legislature soon.
Erie's Manufacturer & Business Association plans a policy briefing on the issue on May 2 at 8:00 AM. According to an event flyer, "The Miracle in Michigan?" will tell the untold story of what happened in Michigan the nation's 24th right to work state.
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