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Anti-right-to-work Rally and Protest held November 9th in Pottsville


DECEMBER 2013, LEHIGH VALLEY Edition of The Union News

Anti-right-to-work Rally and Protest held November 9th in Pottsville


REGION, November 12th- The labor community came together on November 9th to participate in a anti-right-to-work rally in Pottsville, the headquarters of Yuengling Brewery Inc.

Several months ago Dick Yuengling Jr., the leader of the brewery of the D.G. Yuengling and Son Inc., stated Pennsylvania would attrack more businesses if it was the twenty-fifth state in the nation that had a “right-to-work” law on the books and Republican Pennsylvania anti-union Governor Tom Corbett is a great man.

Forbes Magazine has reported Mr. Yuengling’s worth is more than $1.3 billion and he supports legislation if passed would result in a decrease of wages for workers in Pennsylvania.

Yuengling is a nonunion brewer but their employees were once represented by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) Union but Mr. Yuengling spent thousands of dollars on anti-union consultants and the employees several years ago voted to decertify the union.

Mr. Yuengling said at a Pennsylvania Press Club appearance that Pennsylvania should adopt a “right-to-work” or “no-rights-at-work” policy that would make it more difficult for labor unions to organize and keep their membership. The “right-to-work” or “no-rights-at-work” measure would ban union security clauses in labor bargaining agreements.

His remarks have angered some within the labor community regarding adding Pennsylvania to the list of states with a “right-to-work” law on the books.

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, census of Employment and Wages, on average workers in states with “right-to-work” laws earn $5,680 a year less than workers in states that have no such laws.

Gary Martin, Business Manager of the Bridge, Structural, Ornamental, & Reinforcing Iron Workers Union Local 420 in Reading, which represents workers in the Lehigh Valley, a Vice President of the Pennsylvania State Building and Construction Trades Council, and a Executive Council member of the Pennsylvania American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) labor federation in Harrisburg, requested Yuengling products be added to the federation’s boycott list.

The AFL-CIO sent ballots in early September to the fourty-nine Executive Council members of the labor federation requesting they vote on whether Yuengling Products should be placed on the National AFL-CIO Boycott list. The group voted unanimously to support the Yuengling boycott.

Approximately 400 participated in the march and rally in Pottsville, which included union officials, pro-labor radio host Rick Smith, and Allentown Democratic Mayor Edward Pawlowski, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for Pennsylvania Governor in 2014.