The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

News

January 28, 2014

Labor unions pack state Capitol today over paycheck bill

HARRISBURG — Labor unions packed the Pennsylvania Capitol for a raucous rally Tuesday as they widened their fight over legislation that aims to prevent the state, school districts and local governments from deducting union dues and political action committee contributions from the paychecks of unionized workers.

The Capitol Rotunda was so full that police forced many more union demonstrators to wait outside in the freezing cold.

No vote on identical House and Senate bills has been scheduled. But the fresh memory of major Republican-backed legislation to weaken union rights passing in fellow northern industrial states has spurred unions to aggressively lobby rank-and-file Republicans and to assail the legislation as an “attack on workers’ rights” led by out-of-state billionaires and conservative groups that do not disclose their donors.

“If you watched what happened in Wisconsin and Michigan, it was far too late when it got to the House,” William Hamilton, president of the Pennsylvania Conference of Teamsters, told the packed rally. “We’re on time.”

Gov. Tom Corbett, a Republican, has said he would sign the bill while leaders of the Republican-controlled Legislature have been publicly noncommittal, perhaps reflecting their split ranks.

Democrats staunchly oppose the bill, and some, including state Treasurer Rob McCord, a prospective Democratic candidate for governor this year, spoke at the rally.

Members of private-sector unions also streamed into the Capitol in what they called a show of unity.

“They’re coming at our friends,” said Lou Acampora, president of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 380 in the suburban Philadelphia town of Collegeville.

The union demonstrators took some shots at Corbett, who will be targeted by some unions this year as he runs for a second four-year term.

The House bill’s sponsor, Rep. Brian Cutler, R-Lancaster, has framed it as built on the principle of getting government out of the taxpayer-funded activity of collecting money that is put toward a political use.

It would prevent unions from negotiating the automatic deductions into labor contracts, forcing the unions to spend money and time collecting the tens of millions of dollars in contributions from hundreds of thousands of teachers, state employees and other public-sector union members.

Unions counter that they have offered to pay for the minimal cost of setting up the deductions and that other groups, such as the United Way, benefit from public-employees’ paycheck deductions.

That the bill is supported by this historic opponents of organized labor has made the confrontation that much more bitter.

The legislation has broad support among conservative groups and major business associations.

Some supporters link the legislation to their broader goal of making Pennsylvania a so-called right to work state where employees in unionized workplaces would not have to pay union dues as a condition of employment.

Other supporters argue that the automatic deductions give unions an unfair advantage over rival groups that raise campaign cash.

1
Text Only
News
  • 1obamanew.jpg Conflicting rulings on Obamacare

    A federal appeals court has delivered a serious setback to President Barack Obama’s health care law, potentially derailing subsidies for many low- and middle-income people who have bought policies.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • bearden9.jpg Bail reduced for Bearden

    Jasmine Bearden, who was arrested earlier this year on criminal attempted homicide charges for the alleged abuse of her six-week old baby, had her bail reduced in Union County on Tuesday morning.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • US airlines scrap Israel flights

    Two U.S. airlines cancelled all flights to Israel until further notice, after a rocket landed near Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport.

    July 22, 2014

  • 1flag.jpg Mysterious white flags appear atop Brooklyn Bridge

    Someone has replaced two American flags on the Brooklyn Bridge with mysterious white flags.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • bass22.jpg Mifflinburg honors its national fishing champs

    MIFFLINBURG — More than 50 friends, fans and relatives gathered in front of Mifflinburg Area High School on Monday night to celebrate the homecoming of juniors Nick Osman and Garrett Enders, newly crowned winners of the BASSmasters National High School Championships, held last week in Tennessee.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Newport official succeeds Snook in $94G-a-year post

    Newport School District’s director of educational services is slated to be hired tonight by the Midd-West School Board to fill the vacant director of curricular and instruction position.

    July 22, 2014

  • Report: Retaliation by supervisors common at VA

    A pharmacy supervisor at the VA was placed on leave after complaining about errors and delays in delivering medications to patients at a hospital in Palo Alto, California.

    July 22, 2014

  • $5,000 added for M-W restroom work

    The bill for the Midd-West School District stadium restroom renovations continues to rise to the consternation of at least one board member.

    July 22, 2014

  • Today's editorial: Dubious achievements in press secretary-ism

    Ryan Shucard, press secretary to Valley Congressman Tom Marino since May, recently posted on LinkedIn that he was excited and ready to elevate the congressman’s legislative profile — which Shucard did last weekend (but not in a good way) when he got himself arrested for bringing a pistol into a federal office building.

    July 22, 2014

  • Danville train diver left hospital 4 days before suicide

    DANVILLE — The young man who killed himself by diving under an Iron Heritage Festival passenger train underwent treatment in mental health facilities as recently as four days before his death, according to Montour County Coroner Scott E. Lynn.

    July 22, 2014

The Daily Marquee
Video
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.