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Federal right-to-work legislation supported by Senator Pat Toomey


APRIL 2011, Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton edition of The Union News

Federal right-to-work legislation supported by Senator Pat Toomey


LEHIGH VALLEY, March 18th- Lehigh Valley resident, and former House of Representative Pat Toomey (Republican-15th Legislative District), who was elected in 2010 as one of the two United States Senators from Pennsylvania, supports anti-union legislation that would ban “security clauses” in union bargaining agreements.

The legislation would prohibit contract language that makes joining a union a condition of employment. Often, after an employee serves a probationary period of employment, usually between 30 and 90 days, the employee must join the union or be dismissed.

There are 22 states, mostly in the southern United States, that prohibit any contract language that forces union membership as a condition of employment. Such legislation is called, “right-to-work.” Pennsylvania currently allows union contract negotiators to propose language making joining the union a condition of employment.

Since the Republicans success in the 2010 election, conservative groups such as the United States Chamber of Commerce have lobbied them to seek an anti-union agenda.

In Pennsylvania, both branches of the General Assembly are control by the Republicans and Republican Governor Tom Corbett supports anti-union legislation such as privitizing Pennsylvania’s Wine and Spirits Shoppes, allowing private school vouchers, banning the signing of Project Labor Agreements (PLA’s), and stated he would sign right-to-work legislation if it reached his desk.

Recently in Washington, DC, a House of Representatives Republican-led effort to defund the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) failed but the agency remains a target for spending cuts that would slash its annual budget by $50 million, or nearly one-fifth.

NLRB Chairman Wilma Liebman said that the cuts would amount to 18 percent of the agency’s annual budget, requiring it to furlough all staff members for 55 days.

The legislative effort to defund the NLRB failed by the vote of 250-176, with 60 Republicans joining 190 Democrats in opposition.

The bill that Mr. Toomey supports would create a national right-to-work law, which would ensure that joining a union is not a condition of employment throughout the United States.

The newspaper contacted the local office of Democratic Senator Robert Casey Jr., who along with Mr. Toomey represents Pennsylvania in Washington, DC, to determine if he supports Mr. Toomey’s right-to-work legislation. The newspaper was given Mr. Casey’s Washington, DC office and a member of his staff in Washington indicated on March 16th she did not know what Mr. Casey’s position was on the legislation and someone would return the newspapers call. However, as of presstime, March 21st, the newspapers call had not yet been returned.

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