For years, pro-business lawmakers trotted out bills to make Pennsylvania a state that can’t force people to pay union dues. Such bills languished in committees with no expectation of legislative action.
“They’ve been introducing right-to-work bills since at least 1983, and over 30 years, they’ve gone nowhere,” said Rick Bloomingdale, president of the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO. Even Republican control of the Legislature and governor’s mansion did not change that.
Yet with a package of bills introduced last week, observers sense that “something big is happening,” said David Taylor, executive director of the Pennsylvania Manufacturers Association.
“I have come to believe this issue is coming our way, whether anyone realizes it or not,” Taylor said.
“We’re going to take it as a serious threat,” Bloomingdale said. “We’ll continue to fight for people’s rights to belong to a union.”
The renewed optimism for supporters in Pennsylvania occurred when Indiana and Michigan, home of the United Auto Workers, adopted right-to-work laws in December, bringing the total number of states with laws to 24.
Anthony Riedel, spokesman for the National Right to Work Committee, said the group considers New Hampshire, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Montana and Alaska the next battlegrounds.