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Candidate for Governor Wagner once represented by IBEW Union


APRIL 2010, Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton edition of The Union News

Candidate for Governor Wagner once represented by IBEW Union


LEHIGH VALLEY, March 18th- Pennsylvania Auditor General and Democratic party candidate for Pennsylvania Governor Jack Wagner is a former union member and is requesting the labor community support him in the May 18th election. Mr. Wagner is one of four Democrats seeking to become their party nominee and challenge the Republican Party candidate in November for Governor. The candidates want to replace out-going Democratic Governor Edward Rendell.

Mr. Wagner during a interview by the newspaper stated he was a member of the International Brotherhood of Electricial Workers (IBEW) Union Local 29 in Pittsburgh for five years while in College. “I walked the picket line while on strike when I was a meter reader in the Pittsburgh area,” said Mr. Wagner.

He stated if elected, he would not support legislation that bans the signing of Project Labor Agreements (PLA’s) with construction trade unions but believes all state building projects should be put out to bid. “Putting out contracts to bid will save taxpayers money,” said Mr. Wagner. “The current system on bidding must be changed.”

In October 2009 Republican House of Representative John Bear (97th Legislative District) introduced legislation that would prohibit the use of PLA’s on public projects in Pennsylvania. House Bill 2010 biggest supporter is the Association of Builders and Contractors (ABC) construction group. The ABCis made-up of nonunion contractors and builders and often lobbies for anti-union legislation.

Also, Mr. Wagner told the newspaper he would not sign any legislation that would ban unions from gaining union security clauses in Pennsylvania.

In November 2009, legislation was referred to the Committee on Labor Relations of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives that if passed would ban labor organizations and employers from entering into agreements that make joining a union part of a compulsory condition of work or employment. Such legislation is often referred to as “right-to-work.”

The lead sponsor of House Bill 50 was Republican Representative Daryl Metcalf (12th Legislative District).

Legislation to make Pennsylvania a “Right-to-Work” state has been discussed in Harrisburg in the past, however, the legislation had never gain as many co-signers, 32, as House Bill 50 received.

Mr. Wagner when asked whether he supports the closing of the Allentown State Hospital, which the Rendell administration announced in January would be close by the end of 2010, said he was unfamiliar with the situation and could not make any comments.

Mr. Wagner said closing and selling Commonwealth properties has gain popularity by both Democratic and Republican administrations over the past several decades. “This is the worst time to be selling real estate. But, I’m not familiar with the situation at the Allentown State Hospital.”

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