Sunday, September 02, 2007






By Susan Staub, President

Pennsylvanians for Right to Work, Inc.


"A 2002 study from the Mackinac Center for Public Policy…found that from 1970 to 2000, right to work states created 1.43 million manufacturing jobs.  At the same time, non-right-to-work states lost 2.18 million jobs." Lawrence W. Reed, The Wall Street Journal, June 16-17, 2007


Even in heavily unionized states like Michigan, "the basic truth, that union officials are part of that state's economic problem, [is] now coming to replace the notion that they are the state's salvation."  So writes Lawrence Reed, president of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, Michigan's free-market think-tank.


It is equally true in Pennsylvania, where a hostile labor climate has contributed to chronic economic underperformance.


Pennsylvania and Michigan are among the 28 states where employees lack the protection of a Right to Work law. Without that protection, people can be forced to join a union or pay money to a union in order to keep their jobs, even when they didn't vote for the union and don't want to be union members.  However, in the 22 states with a Right to Work law, employees have the right to decide for themselves whether or not to join a union or financially support its activities.


In a nation founded on individual liberty, compulsory unionism tramples on fundamental American rights: freedom of conscience, freedom of speech, and freedom of association. Forced union dues take away an individual's freedom and distort the employee/employer relationship.


Now, with U.S. private-sector union membership below eight percent and falling, Big Labor wants to eliminate the secret ballot in union elections. The union bosses' handpicked allies in Congress are pushing legislation that would unionize private workplaces whenever a majority of employees sign a request card - the so-called "card check" legislation.  Without the protection of a secret ballot, workers would be vulnerable to union coercion to sign those cards - both in the workplace and after hours.


This audacious attack on employee rights handily passed the U.S. House, but stalled in the U.S. Senate on a procedural vote.  Both U.S. Senators Arlen Specter (R-Philadelphia) and Bob Casey Jr. (D-Lackawanna) voted to bring the "card check" bill to final passage.  In fact, Sen. Casey co-sponsored the bill.


One obvious result of Pennsylvania's failure to pass a Right to Work Law is the nation-leading number of teacher strikes here. Every year, thousands of our students and dedicated teachers are affected, while parents, taxpayers, and local economies are held hostage. One of only 13 states to permit teacher strikes, Pennsylvania led all states with 82 of 137 strikes in America since 2000 - 60 percent of the U.S. total.  Tellingly, in the school year ending June 2007, 13 of the 14 teacher strikes were in districts that had negotiated forced dues into their contracts.


As we reflect this Labor Day on the efforts and accomplishments of the past year, we should consider the plight of Pennsylvanians who are trapped by forced unionism, both in public employment and the private sector. To be true to the Founders' promise of individual freedom, to restore the relationship between employees and employers, and to defend taxpayers from union predation, Pennsylvania needs - and deserves - a Right to Work law.




Pennsylvanians for Right to Work is a non-profit citizens' organization dedicated to the single issue of providing freedom of choice with respect to labor union membership for all Pennsylvania's working citizens.  Their website address is  To schedule an interview, debate, or radio program with Mrs. Staub, please contact Jada Baker at 717-233-1227.

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