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AFSCME leader states union members must mobilize against conservative agenda

01.02.15

JANUARY 2015, LEHIGH VALLEY Edition of The Union News

AFSCME leader states union members must mobilize against conservative agenda

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

REGION, December 23rd- David Fillman, Executive Director of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 13 in Harrisburg, told the newspaper that the next Pennsylvania General Assembly of Pennsylvania will be more conservative and more likely be more anti-union than the previous legislative body. However, like Pennsylvania House of Representative Mike Carroll (Democrat-118th Legislative District) believes incoming Democratic Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf will be the “fire-wall” in Harrisburg that will hopefully stop any anti-union legislation from becoming law. Mr. Wolf will be sworn-in as Pennsylvania Governor on January 20th. AFSCME represents more workers employed by the state than any other labor organization. There are eight statewide AFSCME District Council’s affiliated with Council 13.

With bigger Republican party majorities in both the House of Representatives and the Senate, even more anti-union legislation is likely than the previous General Assembly. The Republicans raised their Senate majority from twenty-seven to thirty seats in 2015. The Democrats previously had twenty-three seats and will hold only twenty seats beginning in 2015.

Mr. Fillman told the newspaper that Council 13 has spend time and funds educating their members on why being politically involve and aware is so neccessary to preserve their jobs and livelihoods.

“Whether we are talking about prevailing wage laws, the privatization of the state stores, right-to-work laws, or paycheck protection legislation, the membership must understand the neccessity of being involved and mobilized,” stated Mr. Fillman. “There is no question the next General Assembly will be more conservative than the previous one.”

Because of the majority gains of the Republicans, relationships with moderate members of the party will be very important for the labor community Mr. Fillman added. Should Mr. Wolf veto any anti-union legislation, which he has stated he would, a two-thirds majority vote by both sides of the legislature will be needed to over-ride his veto for the legislation to become law, making the pro-worker Republicans important. Those legislators and Mr. Wolf are the only way the labor community can defeat any anti-worker, anti-union legislation over at least the next two years, Mr. Fillman told the newspaper.

Mr. Wolf easily defeated incumbent anti-union Republican Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett in the November election.

“Without him, labor will be in huge trouble,” said Mr. Carroll. He pointed out that Mr. Corbett was generally unsuccessful in getting most of the anti-union legislation through the Pennsylvania General Assembly the past four years because there were enough Democrats and pro-worker Republicans to stop most of it. Mr. Carroll, is the Chairman of the Northeast Pennsylvania Democratic delegation.

AFSCME represents both state and nonstate workers in Pennsylvania including those employed in nursing homes, the Pennsylvania Lottery system, corrections, and public services.